DBKP INTERVIEWS Fark founder, Drew Curtis, in which we find out about Fark past, present and future--and the squirrel.
Google "Weird News websites" and you get back over 1 million references. But veteran weird news junkies know they can always get their fix at FARK.com, the king of the off-beat news sites.
Drew Curtis is the pusher.
Founded in 1997, Fark.com churns out a never-ending stream of entertaining headlines about strange stories linked to an eclectic collection of sources: Reuters, CNN, ABC News, as well as blogs and local TV stations.
FAST FARK FACT:
It's not Fark, It's million of FARKers:
By January 2008, according to Curtis, the site received an estimated 52 million page views per month from 4 million unique visitors.
As an article in Rolling Stone put it:
When heavy rains flooded Dongting Lake in the Hunan province, CNN reported the event under the headline CHINA DESPERATE FOR BREAK IN THE WEATHER. But over at Fark.com, the best skewed news site on the Net, they ran the link with a different take: SWELLING DONGTING PRESSES AGAINST GROANING DIKE.
"For me, the tag line is more important than an article," says Fark founder Drew Curtis. "If the tag line is funny, it trumps everything else."
Just scanning those skewed headlines--prepared by Curtis and his crack team of smart-ass administrators--has the power to turn any reader into a conversational giant in most offices.
Okay, at least in our office.
A few headlines from the past week included:
RECENT FARK HEADLINES:
* "And the Daily Dumbass Award goes to: The drug-trafficking brothers who flagged down a police car by mistake, and are now on the run. On horseback. In Fiji"
--tagged "Dumbass" on YahooNews story
* "The intellectual path to atheism in a nutshell: "I rejected Christianity largely because it would not have allowed me to continue getting drunk and high every night while splitting time between four girlfriends."
--tagged "Obvious" on a story from Townhall.com
* "Convicted child molester claims he was molested by Bigfoot as a kid"
* "Britney Spears linked to rise of foreclosures. LEAVE BRITNEY A LOAN"
--tagged as "Amusing" on LA Times story
We've always had questions about FARK. Recently, DBKP's Mondoreb and LBG had a chance to sit down (in the blogosphere sense of the word) with Drew, who provided some answers.
And Curtis was candid.
MONDOREB: Welcome to DBKP, Drew. We've been looking forward to this chat, so let's do it.
DREW CURTIS: Cool. Sounds like fun.
MONDO: You would think everyone's heard of FARK, but they haven't. How would you descibe FARK to someone who is totally unaware of the website and how it operates?
DC: What if the Daily Show ran the Drudge Report?
We're a news aggregator selecting for humor. If that doesn't help anyone who is totally unaware of Fark, they need to get off the Internet.
MONDO: How many links does FARK get in an average day? Does it drive the administrators crazy? Does all the strange news links give them a skewed, jaded view of the world?
DC: 2500, and the reason it's that low is because we reject duplicates. It doesn't drive us crazy per se. I don't have much of a jaded view either, I figure it's not that the world is getting stupider, it's that media coverage (of how stupid we already are) is better.
The thing that does drive me nuts though is when I pull up cnn.com or another "real" news site and see nothing but Fark articles. I feel the same way when I go to TGIFridays and try to find healthy food on the menu--there isn't any.
LITTLE BABY GINN: What's up with the super-masculine squirrel on the 404 page? Where'd he come from? It's rumored that he was the only thing on FARK for a couple years. Is he like a member of the family?
DC: It was completely random.
The day I reserved the Fark.com domain name in 1997, a friend of mine sent me that pic. I've since talked to the actual photographer, it's a real picture.
MONDO: Of all the entirely-strange and unusual stories on FARK over the years, what's the strangest one you remember?
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