The fake email that Hamiltowned.com would send to people as a prank telling them they won a daily lottery for cheap Hamilton tickets.
Like many modern predicaments, it started as a joke and ended in a threatening letter from lawyers. Mild-mannered web developer Scott Luptowski just wanted to make people laugh and smile. To entertain. And perhaps...to troll.
Luptowski created Hamiltowned.com, a site that allowed you to play a prank on your musical theatre–loving friends. Enter an email address, and it would send a message to the victim saying that they had won a lottery for $10 tickets to see the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton. The inspiration came from a friend who tweeted about how it would be a cruel but funny joke if people got a fake lottery email. Luptowski used his skills to actually turn this kernel of an idea into a beautiful, horrible reality.
A 30-year-old living in Brooklyn who enjoys both pop culture and looking at tweets, Luptowski was not immune himself to Hamilton fever. He isn't a hater — he'd love to see the show. "I haven't seen Hamilton and have even played the lottery a couple times," he said. "Every time I play I am so certain I am going to win, and same with everyone else I know."
Hamiltowned (the site is now gone, sorry) was set in motion just two weeks ago, and spread virally over Twitter. Even Gawker wrote about it as a deliciously cruel prank. People were using it to prank their friends and people were getting legitimately fooled. The sun was shining and the trolling was good.
But a troll this good wasn't meant to last long on this earth. Not long after its July 8 debut, Luptowski received an email from the law firm that represents Hamilton telling him to, more or less, take the fucking site down, u shithead:
Dear Mr. Luptowski -
We represent Hamilton Uptown Limited Liability Company, the producer of the Broadway production of Hamilton (www.hamiltonbroadway.com) and the owner of the HAMILTON trademark and copyrights.
We understand that on July 6, 2016, you registered the URL www.hamiltowned.com, and that you are using the URL to collect e-mail addresses and then send consumers fake e-mails informing them that they have won the lottery for $10 Hamilton tickets, when in fact they have not.
This website is unlawful. We demand that you (i) immediately take down the infringing site, (ii) discontinue all impersonation of our client and infringing uses of its name and intellectual property; and (iii) confirm to us in writing that this has been done.
If we do not hear from you within 48 hours, we will advise our client to take appropriate action to protect its interests.
This message is not intended to be a complete statement of the law or the facts, and is sent without prejudice to our client's rights and remedies, all of which are expressly reserved.
[lawyer's name redacted]
Levine Plotkin & Menin LLC
Luptowski was scared off by the email and, not wanting to deal with any potential legal troubles, pulled the site off of the internet. The address now just redirects to his personal site.
If only he had thought to ask for tickets in exchange.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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