Suck.com was one of the earliest ad-supported content sites on the Internet. It featured daily editorial content on a wide variety of topics, including politics and pop-culture and was targeted at Generation X. Their tagline, and mascots, were "A fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun".
Suck.com was founded in 1995 by writer Joey Anuff and editor Carl Steadman who created daily comically cynical commentary with a self-obsessed and satiric edge. The writing was accentuated by the art of cartoonist Terry Colon. In 1996, they brought on the writing talent of Heather Havrilesky, who provided the whiny, sarcastic voice of her alter ego Polly Esther in their most popular column, titled Filler.
The name of the site was chosen to slip a domain name with possibly offensive connotations past Network Solutions, who controlled the InterNIC system for the distribution of domain names before ICANN took over that authority. The name also described the nature of "news aggregator" sites that "sucked" stories from the web and published them in magazine like formats.
In 1997, Suck published a compilation of their most popular essays in Suck: Worst-Case Scenarios in Media, Culture, Advertising and the Internet (ISBN 1-888869-27-5).
Other than the distinctive artwork of Terry Colon, the site also had many other characteristics that tied their daily articles together. The main text of each article was restricted to a table only 200 pixels wide. Most articles would feature links within the flow of the content rather than as in labeled footnotes or references, foreshadowing the same technique in modern weblogs.
- Hit & Run — A link-driven summary of recent events
- Filler — A weekly self-deprecating look at cultural pretension and dating in post-modern times
In July 2000, following a sharp downturn in Internet investment, suck.com merged with Feed Magazine to create Automatic Media. Their concept was to streamline their operations and collaborate on boutique operations with low staffing costs. Their joint project Plastic.com was founded with only 4 staffed employees. Despite the faithful cult following, and a combined reader base of over 1 million, Automatic Media folded in June 2001. On June 8, 2001, Suck.com declared that they were "Gone Fishin’" indefinitely , and the site ceased to publish new content.
Current location of staff
- Carl Steadman, co-founder, writer, and editor, is now the owner of plastic.com.
- Joey Anuff, co-founder, writer and editor, is an author and co-wrote the book Dumb Money. He co-founded, launched and edited plastic.com in 2001, which won a Webby in the category of "Print + Zine" that same year. He went on to become a producer at VH-1 and has more recently created the music recommendation site Critical Metrics.
- Terry Colon was the site's full-time illustrator from 1997 until 2001. He now contributes illustrations to publications including Time. He also hosts the website, TerryColon.com.
- Heather Havrilesky, writer of Filler, Suck's most beloved feature, was a popular columnist at Salon's Arts & Entertainment section until December 2010. She also writes and takes letters at the Rabbit Blog.
- Tim Cavanaugh (BarTel D'Arcy) was Suck's editor in chief from 1998 to 2001. He went on to be the web editor of the Los Angeles Times opinion page. He is now a contributor to Reason magazine and sporadically runs a webzine called The Simpleton.
- Ana Marie Cox, executive editor, (who wrote as Ann O'Tate) was later the writer of popular Washington D.C. based blog Wonkette and wrote for Time.com.
- Owen Thomas, copy editor and was managing editor at Valleywag.
- Greg Beato (who wrote as "St. Huck") writes and edits Soundbitten.com. .
- Steve Bodow ("Johnny Cache") is the head writer of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
- Chris Bray (Ambrose Beers) joined the Army.
- Rogers Cadenhead (CGI Joe) runs a blog, Workbench, and a blog host, Buzzword.com; he has also published programming books. He also administers humor site Cruel.com.
- Michael Gerber (Bay B. Food) wrote a parody of Harry Potter called Barry Trotter.
- Nick Gillespie ("Mr. Mxyzptlk") is editor-in-chief of Reason Magazine's Reason Online and Reason.tv.
- Ben Godar (Godar) graduated from Chapman University film school.
- Greg Knauss (An Entirely Other Greg) continues his long-form blog An Entirely Other Day and works in the software industry.
- Rob Levine ("Dr. Dreidel") is currently the executive editor of Billboard.
- Josh Ozersky ("The Boob") currently writes about food and gastronomy for Time.
- Tom Spurgeon ("40th Street Black") runs the comic book news site The Comics Reporter.
- Jake Tapper ("James Bong") is a Senior White House Correspondent for ABC News.
- ^ Suck.com, Gone for Good?. waxy.org. URL accessed on December 30, 2005.
- ^ Ten years later, the story of Suck.com, the first great website. keepgoing.org. URL accessed on March 30, 2008.
- Shafer, Jack (1995-11-01). "Suck Amok". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Johnson, Steven (December 1995). "Sucking Frenzy". Feed Magazine. Archived from the original on 1997-06-06. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- Rosenberg, Scott (1997-11-13). "A Giant Sucking Sound". Salon. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- NewSucks500 The current incarnation of the original suck forum.
- Suck.com website, whose archives remain accessible
- Suck.com's final article, originally posted on June 8, 2001
- Quittner, Josh (Nov 1996). "Web Dreams". Wired (4.11). Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- Mariano, Gwendolyn (2001-06-08). "Feed freezes its e-zine". Cnet. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- Mieszkowski, Katharine (2001-06-08). "Sucked Company". Salon. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- Rosenberg, Scott (2001-06-09). "More lights go out on the Web". Salon. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- "Online mags 'Feed,' 'Suck' to shut down". USA Today. 2001-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- Rosenberg, Scott (2001-06-15). "The Day Feed Died (audio)". Salon. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Sharkey, Matt (June 2005). "The Big Fish". Keep Going. Retrieved 2010-06-14.