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No Joke. BustedTees Drives Holiday Sales

CollegeHumor co-founder Josh Abramson gets serious about his next venture: funny t-shirts.

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In 1999, when Josh Abramson was a sophomore in college, he co-founded the website CollegeHumor, a central portal where he and his friends could post funny pictures and videos they were circulating anyway. 

Five years later, looking to diversify revenue streams, Abramson started BustedTees, which sells t-shirts and other knickknacks that carry many of the funny slogans from CollegeHumor.

In 2006, Abramson and his partner sold a controlling stake in both sites—as well as a third, the video player Vimeo—to Barry Diller’s IAC for an estimated $20 million-plus. But, Abramson says, BustedTees fell by the wayside within IAC—which is best known for sites like Match.com, Ask.com, and Newsweek Daily Beast.

Earlier this year, Abramson decided to eschew PowerPoint presentations, and corporate bosses, and reembark on life as an entrepreneur. For an undisclosed sum, he bought back BustedTees, which he says is profitable, from IAC.

Abramson spoke with Inc.com’s Allison Fass on the busiest day of the retail year, Cyber Monday.

In this week’s TrendWatch Facts & Figures, how BustedTees is faring, and the broader holiday retail industry:

  • Online spending on Black Friday was up 26%, according to comScore. Abramson says BustedTees is trending higher than that.
  • ComScore predicts online retail spending for the 2011 holiday season will hit $37.6 billion, which is 15 percent more than last year.
  • Though BustedTees won't disclose current sales, in 2005 The New York Times reported CollegeHumor earned $2.4 million in advertising and t-shirt sales in the first half of that year.
  • The most popular BustedTees tee right now? A beige "honey badger don’t care" shirt, named after this viral CollegeHumor video, in which a badger eats a cobra. 

 

Last updated: Nov 28, 2011

ALLISON FASS | Staff Writer | Deputy Editor, Inc.com

Allison Fass is deputy editor of Inc.com. A longtime business journalist at Forbes and The New York Times, she has also held roles in venture capital and innovation at Hearst Interactive Media and digital strategy at a start-up consultancy.




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