Freekobe.com receiving 150,000-plus hits per day
CYBERSPACE – As basketball fans and the media wait to hear about whether Kobe Bryant will be charged for sexual assault this week, http://www.freekobe.com is bracing for an impending onslaught of demand.
The Web site, founded two weeks ago after Kobe Bryant was arrested in Eagle, started selling T-shirts and other items marked with its slogan for $15-$20 apiece. In the first five days, the site received less than 10,000 hits.
Now, as the wait drags on, the Web site is receiving 150,000 to 200,000 hits a day, according to designer David Feingold, who lives in Boston and expects the numbers to keep rising.
The Web site has already netted thousands of dollars, which are being donated to the Women’s Sports Foundation, a Title I advocacy group.
Feingold’s original partner, Jeff Reichman, a University of Southern California graduate student, quit the Web site because of increased time demands and unwanted public attention. Feingold stuck it out and took this week off from work to deal with the 500 daily e-mails and to monitor message boards.
“I have to make sure nothing too crazy gets in,” said Feingold, who normally works with autistic children. “There are people that are threatening, and we can’t let curse words or death threats get in.”
The Web site also lost its original host for sending out spam, which Feingold denied. On the site, he explained he just sent out 30 press releases and received 100 responses.
Since its inception, the Web site has drawn attention from national media. Tuesday, Feingold appeared on ESPN for a talk show interview, and today, the creator will be interviewed on several radio shows. Also today, the Web site will have a new look. Feingold, a computer designer on the side, hired a Boston firm, Feratech, to add content and Freekobe.com products.
“It’s been an experience,” Feingold said. “I’m sticking it out.”
If Bryant does get charged, Feingold added, the site will be altered to be more informative about the case. If the NBA all-star doesn’t get charged, the site will focus more on fair trial advocacy.
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