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". The site remains online despite having no new content published since 2001 and several months of downtime in 2015.
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.
Writing for The Atlantic, Anna Weiner said of the site's design, "[It] was simple and straightforward: center-aligned black text winding down the white background of a single static web page, updated once every weekday. Unlike many other content-based sites in the early ‘90s, Suck didn’t have a front page or a login portal.
- 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. Regarding the indefinite hiatus, co-founder Joey Anuff said, “It was a shame. On the other hand...it’s shocking how long Suck lasted.”
On its 20th anniversary in September 2015, Suck founders Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff and former editors Ana Marie Cox, Heather Havrilesky, and Tim Cavanaugh appeared at XOXO, their first appearance on stage together. In an interview with Engadget, Anuff said Suck couldn't exist today, citing the reduced value of opinions and shorter attention spans.
In the fall of 2015, software developer Mark MacDonald began serializing the website's archive in an email newsletter, which is sent on a daily basis 20 years-to-the-day after original publication on Suck.com.
- Carl Steadman, co-founder, writer, and editor, is now the owner of plastic.com.
- Joey Anuff, co-founder, writer, and editor.
- Tim Cavanaugh, editor in chief from 1998 to 2001, became web editor of the Los Angeles Times opinion page, and then a contributor to Reason magazine.
- Ana Marie Cox, executive editor (who wrote as Ann O'Tate), was later the writer of the popular blog Wonkette and wrote for Time.com
- Owen Thomas, copy editor and managing editor at Valleywag.
- Steve Bodow
- Rogers Cadenhead
- Michael Gerber
- Nick Gillespie
- Greg Knauss
- Josh Ozersky
- Tom Spurgeon
- Jake Tapper
- Heather Havrilesky
- Weiner, Anna The Best Magazine on the Early Web: A glance back at a time before Chartbeat. The Atlantic. March 19, 2016
- "Gone Fishin'". Suck.com. 8 June 2001. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
- Sharkey, Matt The Big Fish: Ten years later, the story of Suck.com, the first great website Keep Going. September 1, 2015
- Lee, Nicole. "On its 20th anniversary, Suck's co-founder says it couldn't exist today". Engadget. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
- Bralker, Brian Gen Xers rejoice: Suck.com comes back as a daily newsletter Digiday. March 19, 2016
- ^ 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.