|Slogan||America's Only Humor Site Since 1958|
|Type of site||Entertainment website|
|Alexa rank||845 (August 2013[update])|
Cracked.com is a humor website, with over 300 million monthly page views. The site was founded in 2007 by Jack O’Brien and is currently a property under Demand Media. It grew in prominence after merging with another popular humor website, Pointless Waste of Time.
Cracked was founded as a magazine in 1958. In early 2005, then Cracked owner Dick Kulpa sold the magazine to a group of investors who announced plans to revive a print version of Cracked with a new editorial focus and redesign.
In October 2005, Cracked.com launched as a separate website under editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien, a former ABC News producer. Although the magazine folded soon after launch, the Cracked website gained popularity and was purchased by Demand Media in June 2007, setting off Cracked’s rapid growth period.
In 2007, Cracked had a few hundred thousand unique users per month and 3 to 4 million page views. The site fit well within Demand Media’s network, with O’Brien noting “They understand the web, and they made us nail down a voice.” The editorial staff includes original editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien, David Wong who was added as an associate editor later in 2006, and Oren Katzeff who became Cracked.com's General Manager in November 2007 after running business development for Yahoo Media Group. Cracked.com publishes 2-4 articles daily (2,000 – 3,000 words each), along with video content, short-form content, and contests. The feature articles are the most popular, usually pulling in around 1 million views in their first week.
In 2010, Cracked.com made an iPad app available. The app allows users to browse Cracked’s articles, videos, and contests on the iPad. The app’s landing page looks similar to Cracked’s break room, with a soda machine, bar stools and a table. 
Cracked.com’s traffic has doubled each year, making it one of Demand Media’s most successful properties. In 2010, Cracked drew over 1 billion page views. By 2012, Cracked.com received 300,000,000 page views per month and 7.3 million unique monthy users, making it the most visited humor site in the world, ahead of The Onion, CollegeHumor, and Funny or Die.
The Cracked site also includes a blog, videos, forums, a writer's workshop, four weekly Image Manipulation contests called Photoplasty, and small, one-shot articles called "Quick Fixes." Cracked formerly included a daily "Craptions" contest where users added captions to odd photographs; this feature has been relegated to the forums. The site includes columns by Sean "Seanbaby" Reiley, Daniel O'Brien, Robert Brockway, Cody Johnston, Soren Bowie, Chris Bucholz, host and writer of the web series Hate by Numbers Gladstone, John Cheese, Christina Hsu, and head writer and performer of the sketch comedy group "Those Aren't Muskets!" Michael Swaim.
Although Cracked is owned by Demand Media, it is not a content farm. Instead, the site functions as a “virtual writer’s room,” where more than 2,500 amateurs pitch articles to which other users provide feedback. According to General Manager Oren Katzeff, "Nothing gets on the homepage without heavy editing," [writers] "pitch the site’s on-staff editorial team, who give out assignment and feedback to writers after an idea is greenlit." O’Brien and five other editors pick and refine the best material. More than 90% of the stories on the top spot of Cracked’s homepage come from the virtual writer’s room. Cracked is known for its popular listicles, which include titles like "The 6 Most Insane People To Ever Run For President” and "7 Basic Things You Won't Believe You're All Doing Wrong."
About 30% of Cracked’s content is video. As of 2012, Cracked currently has 10 web series that are exclusive to their site. In 2009, Cracked debuted the web series "Agents of Cracked," which generated 20 million views over three seasons. In July 2010, Cracked debuted "After Hours," a video-debate version of Cracked’s lists which features four Cracked staffers discussing topics such as "Why Batman Is Secretly Terrible for Gotham" and "Why ‘Star Wars’ Is Secretly Terrifying for Women." The show has generated over 15 million views. Other shows include “Stuff that Must Have Happened” and “The Katie Willert Experience.”
In 2011, Cracked partnered with Rotten Tomatoes and Movieclips to launch Cheat Sheets, a comedic, user-generated guide to popular movies. For example, Ratatouille’s description reads "Remy the rat is obsessed with good food, and he has learned to cook by watching television in the same way that Jackie Chan fans have all become Kung-Fu masters. Remy stumbles upon an unsuspecting janitor working in a Parisian restaurant and figures out how to tap into his central nervous system, controlling his every movement."
You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News
Cracked.com released its first book, You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News, in 2010. Published by the Penguin Group's Plume division, the book features 20 articles that had previously appeared on the website, and 18 that are new to the book. The book is formatted as a comedy trivia book, and includes chapters like the 'The Four Most Badass Presidents of All Time' and 'The Awful Truth Behind Five Items on Your Grocery List.'
It reached #9 on the The New York Times' secondary "Paperback Advice & Misc." best sellers list, and sold more than 40,000 copies. As part of the marketing campaign, Cracked encouraged fans to post pictures of themselves alongside the book with 50-word captions.
Crown Publishing Group acquired the rights to Cracked writer Daniel O’Brien’s How to Fight Presidents, for more than $60,000. The book will be a comedic look at the secret to fighting and defeating every U.S. President in history.
The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew
Cracked.com has released its second book, The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew, on October 29, 2013.
Cracked has also expanded into live shows. At the 2011 SXSW festival, Cracked hosted Cracked Live, which featured live performances from Michael Swaim, Soren Bowie, Daniel O’Brien, Katie Willert, and Cody Johnston. In November 2011, Cracked hosted three panels at Comikaze Expo, a multi-media, popular culture convention. They hosted the “The Making of ‘After Hours:’ How a Conversation Becomes an Episode”, “Comedy Troupes Are the New Rock Stars”, and a performance of the sketch comedy showcase “Cracked LIVE: The 6 Most Bafflingly Hilarious Things Happening in Front of You (Right Now)!”
The magazine Wired has called Cracked "addictive," "hauntingly funny" and "terrifyingly well-informed." Mother Jones called Cracked.com “one of the hottest humor sites on the web” and said its content includes, “some of the most uproarious and sage commentary on the interwebs.” describing it as “striking the right balance of pop culture, bawdy humor, and intellect.” In one month, Cracked users can spend over 255 million minutes on the site, which is 5 times more than Comedy Central’s site and 9 times more than Funny or Die.
In 2010, the web series Agents of Cracked featuring O'Brien and Swaim won the Audience Choice Award at the second annual Streamy Awards. In 2012, Cracked received a People’s Choice Webby Award for Best Humor Website.
Web Site Hack
- Daniel O'Brien
- Soren Bowie
- Robert Brockway
- Chris Bucholz
- Michael Swaim
- Christina H.
- David Wong
- Jack O'Brien
- John Cheese
- Luke McKinney
- Brendan McGinley
- Adam Tod Brown
- Ian Fortey
- Kristi Harrison
- Felix Clay
- Cyriaque Lamar
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- Kerner, Lou. Demand Media Will Be The First $1 Billion Tech IPO Since Google -- Here's Why. Business Insider. April 20, 2010.
- Demand Media Reports Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2010 Financial Results. The Street. February 22, 2011.
- Smith, Steve. About 70% is considered to be main articles, "quick fixes", and the topics tabs. Demand Media Looking to Become More Than It's 'Cracked' Up to Be. MediaPost. May 5, 2011.
- Videos. Cracked.com.
- Holiday, Ryan. EXCLUSIVE: How Comedian Daniel O'Brien Turned One Joke Into A Major Book Deal. Forbes. April 16, 2012.
- Cracked.com Launches ‘Cheat Sheets,’ a Bite-sized Guide to Movies and More. Demand Media. April 29, 2011.
- Ratatouille (2007). Cheat Sheets.
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- LeMoyne, R.B. Comikaze Expo Presents Cracked.com’s “After Hours” LIVE! ComicBooked.com.
- How Cracked Cracked the Comedy Code: A How To. Wired Insider. June 16, 2011.
- Sheppard, Kate (July/August 2013). "Cats, boobs, incisive commentary". Mother Jones (Foundation for National Progress). p. 60. ISSN 0362-8841. "How a flailing adolescent magazine became on of the hottest humor sites on the web."