Jakob Lodwick’s Great Norbum Swindle

0103lodwick.jpgSo there’s been some interesting speculation over the past few days about ex-IAC golden child Jakob Lodwick‘s next project.

By “interesting,” we mean spiralling out of control and causing otherwise rational, sane people to make fools of themselves.

1: Lodwick posted in his blog that he registered some new domains. The compulsive blogger also noted the day before that he had dinner with Tumblr founder David Karp. Lodwick called Karp a “soon famous face.” Of course, Karp is one of Lodwick’s friends and Lodwick is also an investor in Tumblr.

2: Blogger James Thomas did some investigation of Lodwick’s domain purchases and found that he purchased numerous permutations of the name norbum.com. CenterNetworks quickly picked up on the story and the Silicon Alley Insider took it from there.

3: On New Year’s Day, among the slowest media days of the year, norbum.org went live with the following message:

“Norbum.org is an open, crowd-sourced, web 2.0 application powered by Tumblr. Why the name “Norbum”? Simply put, Norbum is like Nordstrom for the homeless. We bring to you the latest in urban street fashion from the people who live it. Rather than relying on an elitist group of professional editors, we invite our readers to submit photos of the most stylish street people from around the world. If you spot one of these edgy trendsetters, just snap a photo and email it to 2tvazf87@tumblr.com. We’ll post the best ones to Norbum.org.”

CenterNetwork’s Allen Stern, who has cached some of Norbum’s homeless pictures, asks “Can I get a WTF from the congregation?”

4: A public flogging of the site ensues. Silicon Alley Insider’s Hank Williams calls Jakob Lodwick an *sshole in print and asks if was intended to be “Michael Richards style stuff.” Valleywag’s Tim Faulkner wrote that “Lodwick’s limits are becoming more easily glimpsed. And less watchable every day.”

5: David Karp calls the Silicon Alley Insider while on vacation to state that “I’m not involved with Norbum, I don’t know what it is, and I would never make fun of homeless people.”

6: When e-mailed for comment, Lodwick told us to “see his site for info.” The info?

Although I did come up with the word “norbum”, and register a few domains, I did not create the site that made fun of homeless people, nor did I have anything to do with it. Someone else did it (I don’t know who). I might make fun of homeless people in the future. But I did not create the site that Valleywag talked about.

Norbum.org’s whois info does not reveal much. But the Tumblr talk makes us think that Lodwick is, indeed, involved somehow — even if he did not have a direct hand in the creation of the site.

Either way, Lodwick just earned a ton of buzz for his next project while simultaneously sending the Web 2.0 press into freakout mode. Well played, Jake, well played.

(Image via Noah Kalina/Jakoblodwick.com)