Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St. Louis Native Runs, Blog That Further Erodes Worker Productivity

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 3:58 PM

A St. Louis native has one of the most enviable jobs out there. (For oversexed men, at least.) He reviews and posts photos of women. Just women. Preferably "hawt" women. And gets paid for doing it!

A random sample of the user-submitted photos on
  • A random sample of the user-submitted photos on
Joe Olk, 27, of west St. Louis County, graduated from DeSmet Jesuit High School and then from Webster University with a degree in creative writing. He went to Seattle more than a year ago to visit friends, landed a job there and now is the man behind Hawtness (Alexa ranking here), a blog within the Pet Holdings, Inc. blog empire (,

Still doesn't ring a bell? Maybe this Slate article will clear it up: "I Can Has Internet Millions."

This week Daily RFT spoke with Olk (who did some freelance work for the RFT while he was in St. Louis) on the phone about his new gig running a blog that's become an absolute time-waster (and we mean that in the best way possible) for thousands of people.

Joe Olk is the "lone warrior" who runs, a blog on which you may or may not want your sister, wife, girlfriend or co-worker to appear.
  • Joe Olk is the "lone warrior" who runs, a blog on which you may or may not want your sister, wife, girlfriend or co-worker to appear.
How did you get a job working for Fail Blog people?
I saw an ad on Craigslist and I thought to myself, "I read those (FAIL) blogs every day. So I wrote a bizarre cover letter about how I wasn't right for the job posted online and I had my phone interview in an alleyway outside my (current job) because it was the only place I could talk. It was during rush hour, all these buses going by. I was like, "there's no way I'm getting this job." But I did. I started out as a moderator for Photobomb, My First Fail, Ugliest Tattoos and Item Not As Described.

Hawtness ended up coming up -- my boss and a couple other people were discussing that if you look at the FAIL Blog, it's all just dudes being idiots. And we were like, "where the hell are the women being idiots? It's ridiculous. We started with the idea build on FAIL, but we didn't want to do it (at first.) Even though it doesn't come across that way, it's about women being silly, not women being stupid.

How do you choose which photos go on the site?
We get a lot of user submissions, more than 10,000 a month across all the (Pet Holdings, Inc. blogs). Hawtness receives a couple hundred user-submitted photos a month.

What's the response been from your family regarding your latest blogging venture?
Weirdly enough they have been very supportive. I grew up having a pretty foul mouth as a kid, so they sort of expected me to make fun of people on the Internet, or if you're not making fun, point out weird stuff on the Internet. Occasionally I get grammatical instructions from my parents.

And I have to say half my friends are like, "Seriously dude? This is all you do all day? I'm going to go to my real job right now, you jackass."

What photos don't make the site?
There's a lot of photos I personally really like that no one else does because they're so bizarre, or weird. On the user voting page, way back, there's an S&M Mermaid costume. It's gross. The question I ask is, "Is this funny?" If it's not, "Is this weird and interesting enough?" But mostly, "Is this funny?" I try to enterintain people.

Is there a book deal in the works? That seems to be the next step for bloggers now.
No, well as far as I'm aware of, no. But it doesn't mean it won't happen. Graph Jam just got a book deal.

Do you moderate the site alone?
Pretty much just me. It's all user-submitted. I have the final call as to what goes on the site. I'm the lone warrior.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation