At a time when Internet censorship has turned into a perceived #WAR against certain groups of people, a new hero has seemingly emerged as a siren for the masses. Everipedia, also known as “Thug Wikipedia” to the insiders–which includes everyone by design–is the unannounced, and impossible to ignore, lovechild of the popular online encyclopedia and Facebook.
Breitbart News sat down for an exclusive interview with Everipedia co-founders Sam Kazemian, known by his friends as “the Persian Zuck,” and Mahbod Moghadam, previously of Genius, to discuss their startup and how it’s single-handedly seeking to revolutionize the concept of “knowledge aggregation,” one individual page at a time.
“Everything that Wikipedia thinks is not cool, we think is cool. And the site is blowing up because it has so many pages now,” Sam, 22, told Breitbart News. “It’s so scary that Wikipedia was built in 1999 and it’s the seventh biggest site on the Internet,” Mahbod, 33, added. “But this still really needs to get updated.” Mahbod insists Everipedia is an extension of the popular online information catalogue, wittily referring to it as “Uber for Wikipedia,” although the startup’s growing popularity among the masses could wind up turning the tides.
Unlike Wikipedia, Everipedia allows anyone to create a page about any individual person, any organization, or any thing. Creating an Everipedia page is as simple as pasting a URL into the site’s search bar which automatically populates the information into it. Mahbod said he even created an Everipedia page for his mom: “I had to make one for her. Otherwise, she would kick my ass.”
Asked if there is concern that anyone can make a page for themselves, regardless of whether they’ve achieved any significant achievement, Mahbod said, “That’s totally chill.” As far as trolls go, he added, “The only thing we have to be vigilant about is if anyone wants to talk shit or say anything mean. But it would be way easier to do that on any other site except for Everipedia, because here we are actually monitoring it and it’s not anonymous.”
Wikipedia trolls recently took to neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s Wikipedia page and tampered with it in order to manipulated Google search results for his name in an attempt to link him to a the “North American Man-Boy Love Association” (NAMBLA), a pedophile advocacy group.
“Some people say Wikipedia determines who gets a page on their site if they are white and a male,” Mahbod said. He added jokingly, “every single Wikipedia editor is basically like a single, white guy who masturbates a lot.”
Sam started Everipedia with his Swedish friend Theodor “Tedd” Forselius — a high school dropout and professional gamer — who he met online last year, during his senior year at UCLA. Sam was a neuroscience and philosophy major who had given up on going to med school in order to pursue Everipedia. “And his parents are actually really pissed about it,” Mahbod pointed out. “The reason why Sam ditched med school and wanted to do this is because he is obsessed with Mark Zuckerberg and he sees [Everipedia] as an extension of Facebook.”
Sam and Mahbod connected in a way he described as being somewhat serendipitous. “When I left Rap Genius, I wasn’t planning on finding another job,” Mahbod said. “I was planning on just being retired. And then I was giving a talk at UCLA and Sam came to the talk and showed me my Everipedia page. My dream was to have a Wikipedia page. I’d actually made one a few times and they kept taking it down. I was super frustrated. But now, my Everipedia page is even cooler. It has everything. It says I’m 5’10”.”
He explained how much that encounter touched him, helping him to see Sam’s vision better. His personal experiences and humble beginnings also influenced his openness to creating this communal catalogue and his ultimate involvement:
Well, my family doesn’t have a lot of money, but they know a lot of people who have a lot of money, being they are Persian. And so I always felt kind of like a ‘have not.’ Maybe if you’re poor you just don’t care about it. But for me, it was more like, I know my cousins are rich and everyone’s rich but we’re not, right? So I think that’s why this whole idea of making knowledge free works for me.
Had it not been for his mother’s decision to keep him, against her doctor’s suggestion, Mahbod might not have been here today. His mom was pregnant with a twin sister who was miscarried inside her womb five months into her pregnancy, and doctors feared that he would be born with a mental disability, recommending she abort Mahbod.
Not only did she refuse, but Mahbod would go on to attend Yale for undergrad, win a Fulbright scholarship, graduate from Stanford Law School, become the co-founder of multimillion dollar startup Genius, and be deemed one of the most creative people in business by billionaire Mort Zuckerman’s magazine Fast Company.
As it turns out, Sam, Mahbod and their tight-knit group are just getting started. The site is “blowing up.”
“One of the first series of pages that started blowing up was the people from Love & HipHop. And when that happened, we were like ‘everyone is obsessed with Love & HipHop but why is it not on Wikipedia?” So they created an Everipedia page for it.
Mahbod confessed, “I tried to watch the show once and I almost threw up. It’s a fucking caricature.” He described the show’s dynamic as “disturbing” as he recalled the series of openly documented affairs captured in the series: “It’s disturbing that it’s such a huge hit. This is one of the most popular shows on TV right now.”
Asked by Breitbart News what he likes to watch, Mahbod said, “I like to watch how many people are on Everipedia. That’s our favorite show.”
And it likely will be for a long time, as the site is on track to seeing over 1 million unique users a month and growing. “I remember when Rap Genius hit that number, we celebrated it,” he said, noting that it took Genius a year and a half to hit that mark, whereas Everipedia achieved that in just six months. “Sam calls it the 3x Rap Genius rule because there are all kinds of weirdo milestones that we hit exactly three times as fast as Rap Genius.”
Some of Everipedia’s most popular recent pages include 22-year-old physicist Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, who became an Internet sensation after being touted as the next Einstein. Everipedia had a page for her before Wikipedia did. And one of the site’s highest-traffic days came from the page for Miami-based medical resident Dr. Anjali Ramkissoon, who made national headlines when a video of her waging an angry, allegedly drunken attack on an Uber driver went viral.
“I’m kind of in love with her,” Mahbod confessed, adding, “We found out who her boyfriend is, so now her boyfriend has a page too.” Because Wikipedia had not created a page for Dr. Ramkissoon, Everipedia “won the Google search for that.”
Sarah Palin’s son Track’s Everipedia page is also among the site’s most popular pages. “Everyone is searching for ‘Track Palin Wikipedia’ and then we come up for his page” because he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, Mahboted noted. “Wiki won’t put him up because they have all these stupid rules… Some people say Wikipedia determines who gets a page on their site if they are white and a male.”
Mahbod’s raw sense of humor is a trademark of his bold personality.
A rough departure from Genius left some bad blood between Mahbod and his co-founder and fellow Yale classmate, Tom Lehman, in 2014. Although he and Tom no longer speak, he says he still loves him and always will. “I kind of feel like one of those guys who divorced his wife and got the same girl but the hotter, younger version. It’s kind of like I dumped Tom of Rap Genius and now I have Sam,” he said. “He’s just like the better Tom. He’s better, he’s younger, he’s more buff. And also, they both majored in philosophy in college.”
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.