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Gay.com Goes from Chat to Charity: Former Personals Site Donated to Los Angeles LGBT Center

Friday Aug 4, 2017

One of the gay internet's earliest and most valuable domains is ending up in the hands of a charity. Gay.com, the former gay news and personals website is being donated to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

The domain, which continues to draw more than 200,000 visitors a month was donated by its current owner VS Media and its live camera website Flirt4Free. The company obtained the domain in 2016 with the intent of transforming the website into a philanthropic venture for the LGBT community. Five major LGBT charities submitted competing proposals detailing their plans for the website.

"The Los Angeles LGBT Center provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world," said Flirt4Free Executive Vice President Brad Estes. "I'm very happy to announce that the future of Gay.com will go on within their extraordinary organization."

"We're incredibly grateful to VSMedia for turning control of Gay.com to the Center," said Jim Key, the Center's chief marketing officer.

According to Key, the domain was appraised by VS Media and said to be worth $6.9 million.

"There are so many great, important and untold stories related to the Center's local and global work, which is why we recently launched our blog. At the very least, the traffic from Gay.com will help even more people learn how we're building a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal and complete members of society. 

Founded in 1994, Gay.com was one of the web's earliest gay pioneers. The website, which also featured news and pop culture stories, gained popularity in 1997 with the launch its chat system. The user-friendly URL was bought in 2001 by competitor PlanetOut.

Although news and community features were part of Gay.com, the website's man draw was its gay personals section. in 2005, at the height of its popularity, Gay.com was the busiest gay personals site in the United States. Competing websites Manhunt and Adam4Adam along with faltering technology made the once juggernaut website obsolete.

Gay.com was bought from PlanetOut in 2009 by Here Media before being handed over to VS Media.

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