Fun fact: Drew Curtis, the guy who runs linky website Fark, went to high school for one year with professional asshole (but not moron) blogger-turned-film writer Tucker Max. So Drew somehow got handed a cameo role in I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. Drew-who's big enough on the internet to not give a fuck what we or Tucker Max think-sent us a full report, saying Tucker is "out of control" but the actors are doing a good job, considering the material they're working with. And pictures! Click through now: The actors at work (Tucker character in white t-shirt):
If you make your living publishing content on the Internet, you live and die by the pageview. One way to drive huge amounts of traffic to your site is through "social news" sites like Digg. If I write something interesting, the theory goes, someone may submit my article to Digg. If it gets enough votes, it hits the front page and I suddenly have enough money to buy a new hibachi. The reality: I often submit stories I've written myself, or get friends to do it, and I then harangue coworkers to vote for my story on Digg. Digg has been making it harder to score this way by detecting how "diverse" your voters are. If it's the same old gang Digging your story every time, you get downgraded. But there is one virtually foolproof way to beat the system: throw tons of traffic at your Digg link.
Not many people realize that Drew Curtis of Fark.com lives in low-cost-of-living Kentucky. Fark is headquartered there, and the servers are physically located in Lexington. As such, his might be the website most affected by the "proposal" to ban anonymous Internet comments. Curtis is ticked. Reached for comment at his home on Huevos Rancheros Blvd. in Lexington, Curtis weighed in on state representative Tim Couch, the guy behind the bill. "He is a retard," says Curtis. "He is also a douchebag. And he sucked in the NFL." Nothing anonymous there.
Some enterprising young lad submitted Fark.com to Digg — eight days ago. Fark predates Digg by several years. It has elements of social news like Digg, but it's more in the spirit of the Daily Show than Digg's Slashdot-inspired tech obsessions. Submitter "topsyturvy" described it on Digg as "Fark: the not news news — News that doesn't matter. Not even sure if half of it is true, but it's funny." As of this morning, it had only garnered four Diggs. But that's not the saddest thing of all.
Facebook is great. Not only can you reconnect with old friends and make new ones but you can publicly embarrass them too! Facebook helpfully informed me that today was Fark.com founder Drew Curtis's birthday. Turning 35, he can now be elected president. Glad to know my write-in vote didn't go to waste. Reached for comment at his home in Kentucky, Curtis said, "I'm legit now. Anything I say is believable, and now when I say shit, people will nod knowingly in agreement as opposed to discounting shit because of my age."
Yesterday, Digg went down for an hour in the middle of the day. Initially we thought it was an unplanned outage, but it turns out that a number of changes were made to the algorithm that controls which stories are "promoted" to the front page. The changes have started a mini-revolt among the top submitters reminiscent of the community uprising over Digg's deletion of HD-DVD unlock codes last year. We talked to several top diggers to find out what changed, why they're upset, and we have our own theory for why the changes were made.
Fark.com LLC, Drew Curtis' company which operates the zany headlines site, has applied for a trademark on "not safe for work" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Given how long "NSFW" has been around, we suspect it might be difficult getting the mark granted, never mind how Fark founder Drew Curtis proposes to enforce it. We suspect it might be part of a prank, but who knows? Only Drew. Maybe if we send him a beer, he'll spill the beans.
Gadget reviewer David Pogue of the New York Times has run so short of ideas that he's recycling a decade-old idea: Criticizing the absurdity of today's Web 2.0 domain names. But in rehashing what everyone else already knew, Pogue reveals just how far behind he is. "These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo." Fark? Last year or so? Drew Curtis's Fark.com as a collection of interesting headlines has been around since at least 1999.
Here's the thing about Drew Curtis, the hilarious, gregarious founder of Fark.com: He's supremely down to earth — but his life is out of this world. Very special correspondent Paul Boutin and I had dinner with him Tuesday night at a Peruvian restaurant. Boutin launched into one of his mile-a-minute anecdotes about something P.J. O'Rourke wrote. Curtis listened politely, then said, "Yeah, I went out for drinks with O'Rourke the other week." He actually slowed Boutin down for a second. Fark has gotten so big that Maxim now handles its ad sales. Yet Curtis still goes town to town meeting Fark fans and contributors. After dinner, I hung out at Cafe Murano with Curtis and a bunch of other Farkers, including one with the login "catbutt."
Digg? Way too geeky. Reddit? Haventheardofit. No, the first social-news site that middle America has now heard of is Fark.com. Drew Curtis's rowdy, raunchy discussion board made it onto Jeopardy. In the clip above, host Alex Trebek asks contestants for questions based on answers drawn directly from real headlines featured on Fark. Granted, these were a bit more sanitized than the typical Fark fare — but still, it's invaluable exposure for the oft-neglected site.
"I would like to deny that Fark will be sold for $750 million. I cannot confirm talks at this time. I also cannot confirm that Jason Calacanis has sex with sheep." That's what Drew Curtis, the acid-tongued, whip-smart founder of Fark, a social-news site which competes with Digg, emailed me after reading our rumor of the impending sale of his rival for $300 million. Curtis is obviously dismissive of the mooted Digg valuation. And I've heard lots of scoffing on that number — both ways. It tends to fall in an obvious pattern: East Coasters think $300 million is way too high, and West Coasters think it's way too low. Compete's Jay Meattle crunches the numbers and finds arguments for both sides.
Valleywag first reported the allegations last month, and now lawyers for news aggregation site Fark.com have made it official. This week, a lawsuit was filed in a Lexington, Kentucky courthouse alleging that a Kentucky-based Fox News reporter attempted to hack into Fark's servers. The one surprise — the defendants are named as "John Does 1-10," instead of an individual person. But that doesn't mean that the main suspect, Fox News reporter Darrell Phillips (pictured above right, after the jump), is off the hook. "We needed to be able to file subpoenas to get the final information from his net service providers," Fark.com founder Drew Curtis (pictured above left) IM'ed earlier today. Have more information on this developing story? Let us know.
Richard Thompson, a blogger who tracks the Memphis, Tenn. news scene at Mediaverse Memphis, has done a follow-up interview with Drew Curtis, the founder of Fark.com. Last week, Curtis, left, fingered Darrell Phillips, to his right, a new media manager at News Corp.-owned TV station WHBQ Fox13, as an all-but-certain suspect behind attempts to hack into the site. He based his accusation on an all-but-conclusive trail of electronic evidence. Thompson, at first skeptical of the accusation, seems to be giving it more credence, as Curtis confirmed that Fark has plans underway to seek legal action. After the jump, the latest revelations.
Local TV reporters are infamous for practicing "ambush" journalism — but as they try to take their gotcha practices to the Web, increasingly they're the ones ambushed. The first rule of hacking, after all, is "Don't get caught." And Fox newsman Darrell Phillips may have broken that rule, Drew Curtis has told Valleywag. Curtis, left, is the founder of Fark.com, a thoroughly juvenile, and entertaining, social news site where users pick the headlines. Phillips, to his right, is the new media manager at WHBQ Fox13, a News Corp.-owned TV station in Memphis, Tenn. And Curtis claims to have assembled all-but-conclusive electronic evidence that Phillips has tried to hack into Fark's servers, potentially breaking several laws.
Fark, the insanely popular social-news site, with equally insane headlines, is an excellent source of ideas for lazy TV-news producers. So excellent, in fact, that an Indiana newspaper busted Fox News for picking up the story of a lurid homicide from a Fark link to the site. It also, jokingly, speculated that Fark would be Fox owner News Corp.'s next takeover target. On a lark, the site's founder, Drew Curtis, ran a Photoshop contest asking users to imagine what a Rupert Murdoch-owned Fark would look like. But it clearly struck a chord — and no surprise, since Fark's users and Murdoch's newsmen share the same mentality when it comes to headlines. Would the tabloid-like megablog really be such a bad fit within News Corp.'s growing Internet empire? (Illustration by bengieboy)