The Author Stories Podcast Episode 643 | David Kushner Returns With The Players Ball

Today my guest is David Kushner, the author of Masters of Doom and the brand new look at the early wild west days of the Internet The Players Ball.

David Kushner book
Find David’s books on Amazon

“An engrossing microcosm of the internet’s Wild West years” (Kirkus Reviews), award-winning journalist David Kushner tells the incredible battle between the founder of Match.com and the con man who swindled him out of the website Sex.com, resulting in an all-out war for control for what still powers the internet today: love and sex.

In 1994, visionary entrepreneur Gary Kremen used a $2,500 loan to create the first online dating service, Match.com. Only 5 percent of Americans were using the internet at the time, and even fewer were looking online for love. He quickly bought the Sex.com domain too, betting the combination of love and sex would help propel the internet into the mainstream.

Imagine Kremen’s surprise when he learned that someone named Stephen Michael Cohen had stolen the rights to Sex.com and was already making millions that Kremen would never see. Thus follows the wild true story of Kremen’s and Cohen’s decade-long battle for control. In The Players Ball, author and journalist David Kushner provides a front seat to these must-read Wild West years online, when innovators and outlaws battled for power and money.

This cat-and-mouse game between a genius and a con man changed the way people connect forever, and is key to understanding the rise and future of the online world.

“Kushner delivers a fast-paced, raunchy tale of sex, drugs, and dial-up.” —Publishers Weekly

David Kushner is an award-winning journalist and author. His books include Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids: How a Gang of Geeks Beat the Odds, Stormed Las Vegas, Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb, Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto, and Alligator Candy: A Memoir. 

Kushner is also author of the graphic novel Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D, illustrated by Koren Shadmi, and the ebook, The Bones of Marianna: A Reform School, a Terrible Secret, and a Hundred-Year Fight for Justice. Two collections of his magazine stories are available as audiobooks, The World’s Most Dangerous Geek: And More True Hacking Stories and Prepare to Meet Thy Doom: And More True Gaming Stories.

A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, Kushner has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, New York Times Magazine, New York, and GQ, and has been an essayist for National Public Radio. His work is featured in several “best of” anthologies: The Best American Crime Reporting, The Columbia Journalism Review’s Best Business Writing,The Best Music Writing, and The Best American Travel Writing. He is the winner of the New York Press Club award for Best Feature Reporting. His ebook The Bones of Marianna was selected by Amazon as a Best Digital Single of 2013.  NPR named his memoir Alligator Candy one of the best books of 2016. He has taught as a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

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