A year ago Hunter Moore was a broke hairstylist for porn shoots, but now the 25-year-old says he rakes in $13,000 a month from a nastier type of porn.
Moore is "making money off your mistakes" and he doesn't care how many people he hurts in the process.
More than 200,000 people a day visit Moore's site (which Fairfax Media has chosen not to name), where nude photos of everyday people are typically published against their will alongside their name, location and screenshots of their Facebook profile.
Facebook has sent Moore a cease and desist letter accusing him of intimidating and harassing users but so far has failed to shut the site down. His site appears to be protected by US law and maintains a high Google ranking.
"I don't give a f---. I'm never going to stop," Moore, who lives in San Francisco, told Gawker.
Many of the photos appear to have been provided as revenge by ex-lovers - a cautionary tale about the dangers of sexting.
Moore, who did not respond to a request for an interview, told TheAwl.com that he created the site to make money and teach people a lesson.
"It comes down to, you're f---ing stupid and I'm making money off your mistakes," he said.
"It might sound rough, but how else are you going to learn not to do this again? It's like you're playing Russian roulette like, oh, let's hope this doesn't get out."
Moore told TheAwl that he attended a private Christian school in Sacramento but was kicked out in year 8. He cut his teeth on the web selling clothes and running a gaming forum and a music site.
He attended "beauty school" after dropping out of high school and as late as last year took a job doing hair styling for porn shoots as he had run out of money. About that time he conceived his website but initially intended it as a nightlife guide.
Moore, who was unfazed when confronted by some of his victims on the Anderson Cooper show, mostly refuses to remove posts but some have been marked as removed. There is no explanation as to the criteria for having photos taken off the site.
One user who sent Moore a private message, which he then published, said: "I had a lot of confidence before your site, and the harassment I got changed that. F--- what people said about my body. I know that I'm attractive. But having my FB raped, my blog, my skype and receiving letters in the mail was too much. I hope you realize that what you did to me was incredibly cruel."
Because of the liberal free speech and communications laws in the US, websites are generally protected from being held responsible for content submitted by users. Forbes reported that some users might be able to take legal action against Moore using copyright law or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
For some victims who have deleted their social networking profiles and created new ones under different names, Moore tracks them down and publishes their new information.
Some users, however, view the exposure as a badge of honour and even submit photos of themselves on the site and engage with people commenting about their appendages.
In Facebook's cease and desist letter, published by Moore on the site, the company's lawyers said the site breached Facebook's terms by publishing information about Facebook users without their consent.
"We have also gathered evidence that you have used Facebook's platform integrations to intimidate and harass Facebook users," the letter reads.
The letter said Moore's actions were illegal and must be stopped immediately. Facebook demanded that Moore remove any screenshots of Facebook profiles from his site and informed him that it had disabled his personal profile.
Facebook told Moore that it was committed to maintaining the site as a safe places for users to interact and share but "your actions undermine these goals, abuse Facebook users and systems, and will not be tolerated".
Moore appears to have ignored Facebook's demands. "I replied with a picture of my dick," he told Gawker, adding he gets "about a million" cease and desist letters a day.
He claims he is working on a mobile app and a social networking site, although it remains to be seen whether anyone would trust him with their personal information.
Nina Funnell, a social commentator who gives talks about sexting at schools and is researching a book on the subject, said it was a bit rich for Facebook to be going after the site when it does nothing about "deeply mysoginistic [Facebook] groups which eroticise violence against women".
She said she did not believe the existence of the site would do much to reduce sexting.
"When people are sending intimate photos to partners they're not necessarily thinking about these really ugly abusive websites, they're actually thinking about flirtation and that sort of thing," said Funnell.
Funnell was highly critical of a recent government campaign warning kids not to send nude photos of themselves. She said the campaign heaped shame on the victim and ignored the responsibility of people who then sent the photos on to others - effectively distributing child pornography.
"[The campaign] doesn't stop them from engaging in the behaviour but it does stop them from asking for support or help if heaven forbid something does go wrong ... the whole 'just don't do it' approach is highly ineffective," she said.
The site's's submissions page says users are forbidden from submitting photos of anyone under 18 and those who do would be named and shamed.
Dan Svantesson, an associate professor in law at Bond University and a spokesman for the Australian Privacy Foundation, said the site was a reminder of the risks of sharing sensitive information electronically.
"For Australians to have any hope of keeping some level of privacy in our online world, we need stronger legal protection, a more active approach from the privacy commissioner and a more privacy friendly attitude from those sites that ask us to trust them with our personal information, such as Facebook," he said.
Asked to comment further, Facebook said: "Protecting the people who use Facebook is a top priority and we will take action against those who violate our terms."
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is limited in what it can do about the site since it is hosted offshore. A spokeswoman said ACMA investigated the page and the content was found to be "potentially prohibited", so the link was referred to makers of optional family friendly internet filters.
ACMA, which runs the government's CyberSmart campaign, said sexting could have serious legal consequences, particularly for those who are under 18.
"Even if all participants are willing, teenagers may be breaking the law if they take and share naked or sexual images of themselves or others who are minors," ACMA said.
- Sydney Morning Herald