NEW YORK - Hearst Communications, proprietors of the RealAge online test to determine someone's biological age based on their health habits, reports that the realage.com systems crashed yesterday morning and were down for the better part of the day. The company blames Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards for the website's downtime.
"We built our database to handle an extreme subset of personal habits and choices, but no way were we prepared for what Keith Richards would bring to the table," said Kenneth Bronfin, President of Hearst Interactive Media. "The site just couldn't handle calculations of that magnitude."
The premise of the site is that people answer questions about their health and living habits and are then told whether they are biologically older or younger than their physical age as well as by how many years. Richards, whose years of drug and alcohol abuse are legendary in the music world, was part of a Hearst marketing push to feature the RealAge of various celebrities in an effort to help promote the site.
"The whole thing's pretty ironic when you consider how pissed Tom Cruise was that we only pegged him a few years older at 49 after he took the test," said Hearst Marketing Director Daniel Borte. "He kept insisting he's like 265 in Romulan years, or whatever his religious thing is."
Other celebrities featured in the promotion included Oprah Winfrey, whose RealAge fluctuated between 48 and 62 depending on her weight at the time; Taylor Momsen, whose RealAge of 18 put her at the legal age of consent for every state; and Lindsay Lohan, whose RealAge would not exceed seven no matter how she answered the questions.
"Yeah, we tried to get all the 2008 Chinese Olympic gymnasts so we could put that debate to rest once and for all, but the Chinese government was stonewalling us," said Borte. "Or they wanted to stone us. I dunno, my Mandarin's not that good."
For his part, Richards apologized for the incident, blaming it on his 2006 bout with GIS. In fact, he said that and his constant battle with Relative Intoxicant Disorder are the basis for his new book, What Would Keith Richards Do?.
"Yeah, Keith said a lot of things while we were setting it all up," Borte said. "Unfortunately, I didn't understand the bulk of it, even though we were corresponding mostly via email."
Given the huge popularity of the RealAge online tests, Bronfin said the company is working on a series of other "Real" tests for the web community. Set for release within the next couple of months are RealSize for men and RealWeight for women, both of which will help the sexes cut through the lies and half-truths.
- CAP News Staff