The 3-year-old DormAngels.com, originally started out of a dorm room at the university, at one time included images taken at recognizable spots on the UW campus and overt references to the school.
“It really wasn’t worth a legal battle over the thing,” website founder Brett Jennings told XBiz Tuesday. “I don’t want to be the poster boy for porn in the Seattle area.”
Jennings, a former UW business school student, founded the website in 2001 and drew models from local co-eds eager to make $100 an hour posing nude and semi-nude.
“It’s kind of a household name around campus now,” Jennings said.
The furor over the site started with a newspaper article published in September that reported university officials had asked the Washington attorney general’s office to look at the website and see if it was possibly violating the school’s trademarks.
Jennings said that he saw the story published on the XBiz website and quickly removed all references to the school from Dorm Angels and called UW the next day.
“They said, ‘well, [the word ‘investigation’] was a little bit of an over statement,’” said Jennings. “They just wanted to make sure we were complying with state and federal laws and not infringing on any of their trademarks.”
School administrators said that the inquiry ended as soon as Jennings informed them that he had removed the UW references from the site.
According to an article published in the Tacoma News Tribune, Jennings even offered UW university relations vice president Norm Arkans a free pass to the website to make sure everything was alright, but Arkans declined.
Jennings said that he didn’t believe any of the site’s popularity would decline with the removal of the UW name from its pages, and the press coverage, which eventually resulted in the attention of several state legislators, didn’t really generate anything positive for the site.
“That first day that the story broke, we were picked up on local radio and the local nighttime news,” Jennings said. “They were running spots at 11 a.m. promoting this news program. They mentioned the website name on television and for a half hour on the radio.”
“We took a look later at the sign-ups we’d received that day and only two of them were attributable to all of the press we received,” Jennings said.