Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media

Suck Stops Sucking 88

Posted by michael
from the slashdot-vows-to-take-up-slack dept.
An anonymous submitter sends in: "Salon is reporting Automatic Media has run out of money, and Feed and Suck will be closing up shop. Sad news, especially for such high profile, established sites. What will you do on Wednesdays without Filler? Plastic will remain open, serving up some user generated content, which is apparently the cheapest way to operate on the net."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Suck Stops Sucking

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "...serving up some user generated content, which is apparently the cheapest way to operate on the net."

    Yup. Just go ask those guys at slashdot.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Which makes me feel even more insulted with the attitude of, "I know you all think i should [insert request here] (for example: let users view and moderate the queue), but i'm not going to do it, and i can do whatever i want because it's my site and i'm doing you all a favor by running it"

    We're the ones doing him a favor.

    (So, will this get moderated up as insightful or down as flamebait? I'd say 60/40)
  • I wish I could think of some more Internet content "pureplays" that seem likely to survive, but I can't off the top of my head.

    Sad but true: Porn. The biggest players are diversified a bit, but many are pretty close to pure plays, and in general, the online porn industry has remained healthy through the past five years, including through the "dot com bust" and current economic downturn. There have been a few spectacular failures amongst top companies, due to fraud/corruption, and some of the current leaders (RJB Telcom, Voice Media, iGallery) have had run-ins with the FTC or disgruntled partners, but they're still estimated to bring in $50-$200 million in annual subscription fees. While Inside.com peaked at maybe 2,000 subscribers paying $20 a month, Cybererotica [cybererotica.com] supposedly has over 100,000 subscribers paying up to $40 a month. You can find losers in the industry too, like old-school Playboy.com, as poorly conceived as any failed dot com. But if you're looking for pure play content providers with significant revenue and relatively proven staying power (e.g. profitable since 1996-1997), porn is by far the leading market sector.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just visited Suck and it still had gratuitous use of frames and bizarre formatting. They always sucked, they still suck, and I won't miss them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't understand why everyone is sad to see Suck go. Suck was truly awful; it attempted to be so ironically self-deprecating as to make itself immune to criticism. A classic adolescent trick. I'm surprised, frankly, that it lasted so long, and am very glad to see it gone forever.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is Tim Cavanaugh.

    Re: intmainvoid on the irony of Suck's dying after cheering for banner ads. As the author of both the pieces in question, I stand by that argument. The only irony is that in the six months that Automatic handled Suck's ad sales, the sales force sold NO ads whatsoever, not one. Using Suck circa 2001 as an example of the death of banner ads is like using Stevie Wonder as proof that musicians have no hand-eye coordination. When we had a real ad sales team (at both Lycos and Wired Digital), we raked in enough money to turn a modest profit on our operation, and had click-through rates of a whopping 5-8% - sometimes. Anyway, the point of my articles was not to use ourselves as an example, but to demonstrate that Jason McCabe Calacanis (who should look to his own house - The Silicon Alley Reporter these days is thin enough to hang on the toilet paper roll where it belongs) is one of the bigger horse's asses ever to catch the eye of the New York media.

    Re: Have Blue on Suck's failure to strive for the Katzian ideal of total interactivity. We're still getting a solid 20k to 25k unique users a day. I know it's popular to dis "professional" writers in favor of those kind souls who post for free. I say when you pay people you get a) a much better caliber of talent, and b) a much higher level of effort from the writer. And given the anti-profit bent of many of the posts here, I have to ask: What's worse - having your readers do all the writing for free, or following the Biblical injunction that a workman is worthy of his wage?

    Re: The many posters who object to the very notion of a for-profit content site. Move to fucking Cuba if you don't like it. We paid our writers more than anybody else on the web has ever offered (maybe Slate paid more, but they don't have to pay their own way), and we got the best writers in America as a result: I'd challenge anybody to read any given Suck article and not come away with at least one or two original insights, funny lines, or just memorable ball-breaking. And by any measure I think you'd have to concede we put out the best cartoons the Web has ever seen. We did all that while keeping overhead low enough to break even for a good part of our history.

    Re: Various on Suck's trolling and flame-baiting Canadians. I happen to know that the guy who wrote our first anti-Canada piece is the real deal, a man who honestly despises Canada and hates Canadians. Make of that what you will; he was speaking his mind, not looking for a reaction. I see the Grub guy is still sore about Richard Shirk and his pseudonymous trolling. Richard was an 18-year-old intern who did his utmost to promote our fine product, and I still appreciate his efforts. Last time I looked at the Grub guy's site it had a warning about how it was a humor site, then a totally vicious and unfunny screed against some other Canadian he didn't like. I say the Grub guy needs anger management, not better-humored readers.

    Re: Our various detractors and medical examiners here and elsewhere. As the Reverend Dr. Parr said, "Now that the old lion is dead, every ass thinks he may kick at him." Suck is comatose for a variety of reasons, the main one being that Automatic Media launched in the middle of a shitstorm. But after six years of publication, it's a little late in the game to be saying we failed because we didn't match your definition of what a site should be. Because staying alive, on a for-profit basis, for six years, while paying a good rate to some of the best writers in the world and putting out great content five days a week, is in fact a great success. And if we can manage to resurrect Suck for a Rocky VI-style return, that'll just be another triumph. In the meantime, we have that extensive archive of more than a thousand articles, and I invite everybody to read and enjoy [suck.com] as many of them as you can.

    Re: Slashdot taking up the slack and the many nice condolences here and elsewhere. Thank you and good luck. We're still trying to find the right sugar daddy who can recognize a valuable property and take a chance on it. Unfortunately those folks are in short supply these days.

    yr pal,

    tim
  • Whaddya know? I've recently started newsfilter.co.uk [newsfilter.co.uk] for vaguely the same purposes - deals with .ukian issues, obviously enough.

  • Who in the internet content business is going to survive?

    Those that pay their own way, who else? ;)

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['ish' in gap]> on Friday June 08, 2001 @11:26PM (#164920)
    Plastic.com?!?!?!? Please spare us. Plastic.com, apart from being fugly, is a lame imitation of metafilter, kuro5hin, half-empty, and a host of other similar but better sites that pre-date it.

    Please let plastic.com die in peace.
  • by Have Blue (616) on Friday June 08, 2001 @08:35PM (#164921) Homepage
    Suck was an artifact of the time when media was transforming from Old Media to New Media, as Katz would put it ::dodges thrown vegetables::. It took advantage of all the Internet could do for content presentation, but it was strictly one-way and didn't offer anything new in the actual content (besides a sarcastic and irreverent tone, which is not exactly unique these days).

    User-generated content really is getting more interested than content created by "professionals". Slashdot itself is one of the prime examples: Many articles combine a large body of original content with the comments posted by everyone, to create a totally new way of processing ideas.

    Suck was simply a concept whose time had past.

  • I don't quite understand, how much money could it cost? What do they have, like one artist and two writers? It's not like these guys have to setup offices around the world to do their thing.
  • "God is dead."
    - Nietsche

    "Nietzche is dead."
    - God


    Your Working Boy,
    - Otis (GAIM: OtisWild)
  • I hope Polly finds a place somewhere she can create content. So many of her articles were beautiful nail-on-head pieces.

    Regardless, I've always got my Suck card for memories, and somewhere around here is some of their other promo material. Geez, I remember them before the ad at the bottom of the page. What "suck"ed me in was the promise of new daily content, and (damn, I'm getting old) I was using Mosaic, for the Fish's sake!

    I guess I can live in the glory of being Suckster #177 according to my card. "I, _____________, am now a card-carrying member of the digital generation, and I suck."

    Rembember: "It's all your fault!"
  • I think he's referring to the writers continuing to do it in their spare time because they like to.
  • It's a joke: Suck *stops* sucking--Slashdot *starts* sucking. Get it?
  • I for one will mourn the passing of suck.com. It was an excellent site, with an original approach. Its biting sarcasm and ironic editorial viewpoint was something I enjoyed, and enjoyed for a good long time.

    I have seen some posts that say they 'just didn't get' the articles and the truth is I felt the same about some of them, others it seemed were just not to be 'gotten'. Nonetheless taking a break and reading some Suck was a good way to unwind.

    Besides, there is just something wholesome about drug addicted woodland animals.

    Thanks Suck.
  • Right now one of the /. readers (grub) is trolling /. to get hits to his own webpage.

    bah! Like I get paid for hits. :)

    I was being ironic. I actually found your comment to make perfect sense, it was just so easy to take a shot at it I had to. :)

    Yep, thanks for clarifying. Some people take things at face value.

  • A while back one of the suck.com writers (Richard Shirk) was trolling usenet to get hits to suck.com stories he had written.

    He'd post using fictitious names and mail addresses to target newsgroups claiming to be outraged about a story he read on suck.com.

    Full story (with links to the usenet posts) available on my webpage [grub.net]

  • "Plastic will remain open, serving up some user generated content, which is apparently the cheapest way to operate on the net."

    I guess /. is safe for the time being then. :)
  • I stopped reading Suck several years ago, around the time they discovered how easy it is to bait Canadians [suck.com] for cheap laughs. It wasn't until recently that us Canadians stopped getting mad and started getting even [about.com].
  • Plastic gets readers from Wired News [wired.com], too.
    --
  • Seriously. I mean, it's sad that these (and others) couldn't live out their dream life writing biting commentary, but, I have a hard time with people whining about it. It's a return to the 'net before the boom, where people *gasp* donated their FREE TIME and DIDN'T GET REIMBURSED for it!!!! (y'remember those days?)

    People who live to write will write, those who live to web will web. In the old, "pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered" theory, there'll be some pain as we return to the old ways, but hey.

    And, if no one had noticed, we've developed a few distributed computing models (freenet comes to mind) that can share the content-serving side of a serverload across multiple systems (cached nearby for your convenience!) that will eschew the old days of us slashdotting, well, Slashdot.

    The fun's not over, it's just back to it's regular timespot at 5p-9a

  • But then it was framed, and it was all over for me. I called back from time to time, but it just got more and more bloated and ugly and intrusive.

    Shot in a barrel.
  • Well, how about the very most recent article [suck.com]? (URL stabilized for the convenience of archives-trawlers.)

    --
  • I will greatly miss suck and I am glad to see that slashdot posted on its demise, however i am in agreement with szcx here, the "from the slashdot-vows-to-take-up-slack dept." may be a bit out of line. Considering /. and suck are really 2 very different pages I find it hard to imagine /. picking up the slack for suck.

    And to suck.com you will be missed.
  • >And, if no one had noticed, we've developed a few
    > distributed computing models (freenet comes to
    > mind) that can share the content-serving side of
    > a serverload across multiple systems (cached
    > nearby for your convenience!) that will eschew
    > the old days of us slashdotting, well, Slashdot.

    And if no one had noticed, we've developed a few distributed computing models (Usenet comes to mind) !!!

    This is what Usenet has been made for in the first place, it's distributed, it's p2p before this word was fashionable or the last buzzword, and with groups.google.com it's archivable; searchable, it's the best Web knowledge base I know of, and it will never die !
  • by schmack (32384) on Friday June 08, 2001 @09:33PM (#164938)
    Automatic Media's other hope is to find buyers for the software that runs Plastic's weblog format.

    This is a really strange thing to see - Plastic is powered by Slash [slashcode.org], isn't it?

    --

  • You make a very good point when you say, "Maybe what's needed are moderation systems that better encourage, um, moderation." If I'd had (or could have bought) mod-points, I'd have rated your comment "Insightful," but I don't, so I'm going to post this semi-off-topic rant instead.

    The question is, how do "we" get there from here? Moderation of the kind we both seek requires that one value what's being used to moderate things. I consider mod-points a short-lived currency, and a potential revenue stream that has been unfortunately-ignored by sites like this one. Slashdot may not need an additional revenue stream, but other sites need both better moderation and a way to support themselves if they're going to take on the "mainstream" media like AOL/Time-Warner.

    Take it from me, if you mint a currency, you should NOT constantly give it away. You need to sell it! (Insert blatant self-interest and total-greed disclaimer here. I want them to sell mod points for -- among other things -- e-gold. OTOH, I offer to give the stuff away below! Go figure.) I have a way that they could easily do this [e-gold.com]. Because e-gold payments are instant and "pushed," and irrevocable, it's unlikely that script-kiddies with credit-card fraud programs would be able to attack the system as they would if payments were delayed and "pulled."

    Still, it's also likely that things would not be perfect in /. moderation-land if Cmdrtaco suddenly began selling mod-points along with giving them away. Things are not perfect here NOW (that's what meta-mod is for, though). Perhaps meta-mods on a user that indicated abuse could result in higher prices for future mod points sold to that user? Should insightful/funny commenters get discounts on mod-points? Should meta-mod -- if done correctly, whatever that is -- lead to discounts? I don't know how it would all work, but I'd like folks to think about the way we treat free vs not-free things. For me (I'm cheap) not free encourages moderation, in the "thrift" sense of the word. I treat free things more like they're worth less (but not worthless). Oh well, rant over.
    JMR

    PS
    I will reiterate my offer of 10 grams of e-gold to anyone who hacks the slashcode to make this easy for site-owners to do, along with my offer to click a bit to programmers for free so you can test it (just send me an account number). Surprisingly-few of you have taken me up on this offer, so far. Thanks for listening.

  • by mattvd (44096)
    That sucks :-)
  • Right now one of the /. readers (grub) is trolling /. to get hits to his own webpage.

    I was being ironic. I actually found your comment to make perfect sense, it was just so easy to take a shot at it I had to. :)
  • your Mom.
  • Must 1.suck to be 2.Suck. Therefore making 2 meanings (the slang term "to suck" and the name of the site "Suck") and no-one posts at Score:2 when they're trying to get mod points, especially when you've already gotten that Karma cap in yo ass (note: triple pun). And to think, it is often stated that the only humour americans understand is the pun.
  • They sucked anyway. oh the puns, the puns!
  • has no concept of vowels or good humour.. must be an american.
  • other than you being so geographically challenged that you think it is only the British isles that know how to spell, what makes you think I'm a limey? Assumption.
  • I'm getting tears in my eyes thinking that Suck is going the way of all dotcoms... it was essential reading, every day. Life without Suck... that would suck.. That would really, really suck... Will I never get to meet Polly Ester?
  • But Plastic.com has Oog the Open Source Caveman [plastic.com].

    What else do you need?
  • I would disagree with you. Suck's well defined style, writing, consistent quality artwork, and personal touches are unmatched by Salon, Slate, Wired, or most anything else out there. Of course, this is just my opinion.

    LS
  • by joq (63625) on Friday June 08, 2001 @09:42PM (#164950) Homepage Journal

    Certainly they could still keep the site going if they have the initiative, and heart to do. While many companies go under which in this revolving door business is common place, it can't be that hard for those writers to continue with their own stories for the site.

    Surely there is someone who'd be willing to provide them with the webspace to do so, and if they can't find one have them seriously contact me and I'll put up the space and bandwidth for them, with no strings attached.

    FYI it sucks (no I'm not trying to be a smart ass) to see some cool companies go under, but many sites with great content can still survive if they strive for it. It's be done plenty of times, and those sites who do nothing are nothing more than losers for not trying. Many need to learn about management when it comes to finance since many of the dot com'ers are inexperienced when it comes to business, but there's always a time to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

    Oh well offer stands if anyone from suck reads this I'm hoping you'd have a clue on how to get in touch with me should you be able to obtain the domain, and want to continue, the space is yours no charge. To anyone else thinking about me dishing up some space... Maybe maybe not depends if I like you and your content ;\
  • I didn't mean to imply that Suck's content was in any way subpar. In fact, I don't think I said anything whatsoever about Suck with respect to the quality of their content. I would agree that they were putting together a very compelling site, more compelling than many sites.
  • Trés insightful. On Plastic.com, you'd have been moderated up to 5: GENIUS for an off-the-cuff cheapshot like that.

    Which would be a more efficient way of proving some of my prior arguments about the readership / POV are true.

    If there was such a thing as true there.
  • ...too much variation in POV leads to dialogue that is itself uncompelling to most. It helps, when people are discussing a particular subject, if they speak the same basic language. If they don't even share a language with which they can have the discussion, then it can border on incoherent. I think sometimes that diversity itself causes incoherence in conversation. This can be flavorful, but certainly is as likely to be exhausting.

    It is the difference in some respects to watching "Politically Incorrect" on television, versus the "Capital Gang" or "MacLaughlin Group".

    On "Politically Incorrect", the subject matter covers a broader range of material (encompassing art, politics, entertainment, media, etc.). The participants come from those same categories- a rock star here, a political reporter there, a talk show host here, a special interest group lackey there. - The dialogue doesn't really pretend to be a dialogue- it is normally a race to see who can produce the funniest joke before the commercial break, with the (ahem) moderator competing against all of the participants. It is often entertaining or infuriating, and almost never substantive. Who watches it? Late night channel surfers who are just looking for something to provide a nominal amount of entertainment.

    With "Capital Gang" or "MacLaughlin Group", you have a much more narrow range of participant-diversity. They are political journalists or politicians themselves. They discuss political news, all speaking generally with the same degree of sophistication on political subjects- with the variety coming in their actual political loyalties (some conservative, some liberal, some moderates, some special interest, etc.) - Since they are all political junkies, they tend to be able to move very quickly because they (and their audience) are better informed about the issues, the proponents, the critics, etc.

    The audience, rather than being a channel-surfing couch potato, leans more towards an educated, literate, politically-interested sort. The product itself tends to be higher-resolution, and in some respects this would be very offputting to the average viewer of "Politically Incorrect".

    I think this is somewhat akin to the difference between a Plastic.com thread and a Slashdot.org thread. Plastic.com subjects cover an enormous range of interests, with discussions themselves mostly being shallow. Slashdot.org stays narrow, and threads have the potential to dig deeper within the narrow range. Which is, IMO, more interesting to read and participate in.

    But just IMO.
  • by smirkleton (69652) on Friday June 08, 2001 @09:34PM (#164954)
    On a prior thread, the subject of plastic.com [plastic.com] came up. In my prior and current opinion, plastic.com doesn't have a long-term future as a viable community. It seems, at least to me, that the operating assumptions regarding the generation of meaningful, tangible value- are inherently flawed.

    Plastic.com has mistakenly assumed it could replicate the success of Slashdot simply by repurposing the Slashdot message board system for the purposes of broad-minded subjects mostly related to pop culture, pop technology and pop politics. They have failed to realize that Slashdot's success has come through its specialization. The broader the subject matter, the less compelling the appeal to a broader base of people. The narrower the subject matter, the stronger the potential appeal to a smaller base of people. They are failing because they thought if they focused on broad subjects, that all your base would belong to them. But they ain't CATS. They are on their way to destruction. They have no chance to survive, make their time.

    Seriously, though- I think most people who read and participate in Slashdot would agree that there is something of a Slashdot POV that is reinforced through the editorials, through the article selection, through much of the posting activity, etc. While you see a lot of variation in the worldviews of participants (agnostics, christians, atheists, relativists, absolutists, humorists, nihilists, etc.)- the community still has several hundred thousand participants who fit the profile one-way-or-another (in short, they understand at some level the Slashdot narrative, and want to participate in and contribute to it).

    What is the Plastic.com POV? There isn't one, really. It isn't created BY a certain specialized community FOR a specialized community. It is a created by a conglomerate of differently-minded interests, lacking in a coherent POV, and it feels like it. Oh sure, it has a sort of ironic, detached postmodern perspective- that is reflected in the cheeky commentary here-and-there, but come on- isn't that the standard TONE of almost web-based content sites these days? Salon, Slate, Wired News, etc.? So how original is that?

    Now, Plastic.com will have two less sources funnelling a readership towards its community board. No Feed [feedmag.com] readers, no Suck [suck.com]readers. Who will it continue to receive readers from? Modern Humorist [modernhumorist.com]? (who jokingly noted in a recent press release that they were almost out of the seven-figures in venture capital they raised only a year ago, and could be in trouble?) Netslaves [netslaves.com]? (who repeatedly asks on their own site if they should discontinue the site itself since their purpose has been satisfied and frankly, Netslaves isn't exactly making anyone richer OR happier?) Inside.com [inside.com]? (who at their PEAK had less than 2000 paying subscribers, as noted by Poynter.org a week ago?)

    I don't bear Plastic any ill-will, that isn't why I'm bringing this up. I think the concept is flawed and in time, this will be manifest. But I'd be happy to I was wrong about that.

    But, backing up, it begs the question- who in the Internet content business is going to survive?

    Jim Romenesko's Media News had a link [usc.edu] today to a story in which Slate publisher Scott Moore "was kind of funny, drolly knocking down anybody's ideas about what might make a dollar online... He didn't seem to think any known model will sustain a Web-media company. Because his publication is paid for by Bill Gates, he can afford to be pessimistic."

    Truth be told, Moore is wrong. We see that at least The Onion [theonion.com] has been able to make a ton of money ($2,000,000 in ad revenues alone last year, for their website only). They also have print advertising in their print publication, and several best-selling books they've released, plus "The Onion" radio news (syndicated for indy & college radio stations, mostly), and have made money optioning articles to Miramax for film development (two to date that I know of).

    So, there is a hybrid new media / old media company that is making serious money in content. And, most would agree, they are the best at what they do.

    Another content company making money online is Fu----company.com [fuckedcompany.com]. Founder Pud runs the thing pretty much by himself. He's got a book deal with Simon & Schuster, he's got at least $60,000 a month in subscriber revenues to his unedited gossip / rumours database, he's got some banner advertising (prolly not too special revenue wise), and he's got f'dcompany-branded products he sells on his site (I think I read this may bring in over $100,000 this year, but I'd need to double check).

    There are other Internet content players who are surviving, generating revenues and even profits. I don't know of ANY that have done so after raising venture capital. Ironically, the sites that raised capital to fund content are the ones who are dying here, there and all over the shop.

    I wish I could think of some more Internet content "pureplays" that seem likely to survive, but I can't off the top of my head.

    Where was I going with all this? I don't know. But now that I'm here, I think I'll rest and pretend this was where I was intending to head.

    Good luck to the content players still out there, still trying to make something work while remaining independent. I feel obligated to say that after reading that 4 corporate players control over HALF of the public's internet browsing needs or some such nonsense.

    All of this speculating has got me depressed. Think I'll go read some old USENET articles and think of a simpler time. A time when it looked like Netscape was going to change the world, when it looked like Microsoft had finally been bested, when Amazon was just selling books and it seemed like the people starting companies left-and-right were doing it because they wanted to make a change in something other than their personal worth.
  • Is there such a beast? User generated content is the cheap way to go, but the big ticket item is bandwidth. Imagine downloading a mirroring webserver on your broadband PC and volunteering for your favorite websites. Suck.com or whatever would send you a % of the traffic to serve up.

    There's a lot of bandwidth out there, the same with wasted cycles but SETI@Home and GIMPS made great use out of idling PCs. You wouldnt even need a couple million contributors like SETI, just a couple hundred could handle a substantial load.
  • Yeah, I guess he was the son of (one of the many) owners. He just HAD to have a job in new media, so daddy squeezed him in, totally nonqualified. Still, I liked a lot of the stuff on suck that WASN'T by him.

    ---

  • From the article: the three sites -- Plastic, Suck and Feed -- draw "just shy of a million users a month" and cost about $50,000 a month to run.

    That divides out to about a nickel a person. First of all, to me, it seems like a pretty decent deal to provide entertainment (however intermittent) to a million people for 50 grand. I for one definitely would have paid the, oh, let's see, 60 cents per year to read suck (and then I would've gotten feed for free! whoo hoo!). Maybe even double or triple since not everyone would sign up.

    But to an advertiser, that's way over the going rate per impression, isn't it? Even if some of the stories make you click through 4 or 5 times. However, if they'd put more ads thoughout the page, they could dilute the cost to each advertiser. Their ads were always kind of apologetic, in that little frame underneath that we could just squish down if we weren't interested in a new Visa card. Oh well. This really doesn't make me confident for "free" content on the web.

    ---

  • The broader the subject matter, the less compelling the appeal to a broader base of people. The narrower the subject matter, the stronger the potential appeal to a smaller base of people.

    It's a nice idea, and one you hear a lot online, but look at all the Slash sites out there now. (Or even at one list of them [slashcode.com].) Most of the really narrow ones don't have any commentary, just the owner-posted stories.

    Smokedot [smokedot.org]. Jazz-Sax.com [jazz-sax.com]. Go Hogs [gohogs.org]. All very narrowcast with no serious comment traffic. (Gohogs is a college sports site. Come on, we know sports fans like to argue. Why aren't they posting?) Plastic is currently one of the busiest Slash sites outside of Slashdot. Sucess is so much more than site focus. It's attracting users (Slashdot had word-of-mouth back in the Web's word-of-mouth days. Plastic had advertising on its partner sites). It's picking stories that inspire the users to post (and getting enough of them). It's keeping the server up from day to day (a lot of the small narrowcast sites on the Slashcode.com keep falling down). And probably most importantly, it's striking the balance between broad and narrow.

    Slashdot is actually pretty broad when compared to the less-sucessful sites: tech discussions, political discussions, entertainment reviews, etc, etc. Different people here probably have different favorite topics, but signing up for Slashdot puts them in a position to comment about all the topics. Diverse sites attract more readers, and give them more opportunities to post. Super-narrow sites like Smokedot, while an nice example of free software encouraging free speech, aren't good for building user bases.

    (None of this is to say that niche services on the web are bad. I like niche services. I have a bunch of niche pages on my web server (like pages devoted to specific, out-of-print roleplaying games), but not discussion sites, because I know those subjects are going to generate the requisite repeat traffic. I settle for the occasional "Hey, I like your page" e-mail, and get on with my life.)

    I could probably draw some sort of parallel with Usenet: Some really narrow-focused newsgroups succeed, some of them never get off the ground. But I've rambled on too long already.
  • by szcx (81006)
    from the slashdot-vows-to-take-up-slack dept.

    When did Slashdot hire competent writers? Sweet fucking christ, people. Taco is no Polly Esther [suck.com] and Katz doesn't hold a candle to Ambrose Beers [suck.com].

    Don't get me wrong, I wish Slashdot the best of luck in their endeavour to fill the void left by Sucks demise.

    You can start by installing a spell checker.

  • Suck going under has nothing to do with initiative, or heart. It's about money. Bandwidth is cheap compared to the cost of hiring writers, editors, and artists.
  • by krmt (91422) <therefrmhere@nOsPam.yahoo.com> on Friday June 08, 2001 @09:40PM (#164961) Homepage
    I'm very sad about this. Before I found /., suck was far and away my favorite site. I looked forward to Filler every Wednesday, and all the specials. I'll definitely miss Terry's artwork too.

    Suck was a great site from the days of "content is king", which I still believe is true, although perhaps user submitted content really is the only way to survive. Sad, sad, sad. I'll miss Feed too, they always made me think, at least a little, which is a very admirable thing for a web drowning in pages and stories that deserve a feature from Something Awful.

    Anyways, thanks for all the bile and deprecatory humor suck (including the self deprecatory). It's going to be a lonely net now that Hack and the Fish aren't on it.

    "I may not have morals, but I have standards."
  • http://www.swarmcast.com [swarmcast.com]

    It looks like it's meant for the splitting up of larger files, but it might work nicely for what you're talking about.

  • Dude, you really are reading too much Katz. ;-)

    But seriously, you've got a good point. I'm following the same model these days - giving away free search engine optimization [lycos.com] advice online and sticking to print media and broadcast TV/radio for my journalism career. It just seems to be what audiences want.

    That said, Wednesdays without Filler just won't be the same.

  • One wonders why, if the above is true, you are checking back in here to read the replies to your own post. By contrast, we *all* know why this link to search engine optimization [lycos.com] is here. ;-)
  • Does this mean Slashdot will be hiring some actual writers? People that can generate some real content?

    Hmm, I thought they meant they were going to add a Slackware box to their arsenal of webservers.

    Or maybe they were trying to start a distro war since those create so many pageviews.

    But wouldn't /. be rather boring with actual writers? I mean, people already whine about Katz, and he's as close as I think they've gotten. Slashdot just wouldn't be as much fun if they were professionals. Actually, I wish the originators (CT and H) would post more often. It seems to me that they must take turns every couple days. There will be 4 or 5 stories posted in a row from M or T and every once in a while CT will post something. But maybe they are still having too much fun enjoying their stock cash. Or wives/girlfriends.


    kickin' science like no one else can,
    my dick is twice as long as my attention span.
  • Even in April suck was claming that banner ads had a future [suck.com] on sites like theirs. And then in May they were reiterating their support for banners [suck.com] after a misguided attack by Michael Tchong.

    How ironic that they bite the dust in the next month.

  • It's still not a pun, no matter how and you want it to be. Just accept that you didn't get FP and move on. American humor may be limited to puns, but at least we know what puns are, Quantum.

    --

  • Who ends up with "suck.com"? Will they auction it off? "sucks.com", the anti-corporate site, should buy it.
  • Not to be grammar nazi or anything, but doesn't a pun usually have more to do with double meanings? Seems to me you're just using the verb "suck" with the same meaning over and over again.

    Perhaps if you're more clever next time you can soak up a few more mod points.


    Off-Topic
  • For those that haven't yet made Plastic a part of their day- Check the site out now [plastic.com].

    It's a Slash-based site very similar to Slashdot, but leaning much more towards political issues. If you're a libertarian (Lower-case 'L' intentional), you'll feel right at home.
    signature smigmature
  • Sites like Slashdot, Plastic, and Perl Monks are wonderful to visit because there's always something new from minute to minute

    Everything 2 [everything2.com] is the same way and isn't limited to technology or political stories. I haven't looked enough at Half-empty to see any difference from E2.

    Think how many times you visit Slashdot/Plastic/your-favorite-slashcode-site-here every day.

    Clarification: Perl Monks runs Everything not Slashcode.

  • Dude, suck was around before anything else. Even your beloved slashdot had a lower profile than them to begin with. You say: I mean, it's sad that these (and others) couldn't live out their dream life writing biting commentary, but, I have a hard time with people whining about it.
    Well, obviously you know a little about suck. But then you accuse them [and their fans] of being what they have always slandered the hardest: whiners. Bollocks to the old days. Suck was there in the old days. It was there before Time Warner's failed portal, before kids went crazy in Columbine, and before anyone gave a shit about the net. Suck is _the_ place to go if you want to find like minded people who have a forum to say what they want, no matter how painful, a place where Polly will often remind us that we aren't the only fuckups in relationships, workplace, or the way we act, and that yes, most people are dumb, stupid, and not worth talking to.

    So please, whine about the GPL, groan about the RIAA, and slander MS nabisco mergers all you want. But do not bring such noise to a quality gripefest as Suck, the place where shooting fish in a barrel is positively encouraged. Why? Because it's so damn easy!

  • by Salsaman (141471) on Saturday June 09, 2001 @02:36AM (#164973) Homepage
    Suck: mozilla is dead !!! Mozilla: no, suck is dead.
  • I think what is funny is that corporate-sponsored or dot-com sites are dropping off like flies, and the counter-corporate internet's infrastructure is being strengthened again. maybe capitalism doesnt have the stuff to make it online? or maybe the internet really *is* anarchy, and so their stupid models of doing things (profit) just aren't going to work.

    either way, i would like to report that TAO [www.tao.ca] is still functioning, indymedia [indymedia.org] continues to grow as an example of how open collaborative publishing can form real-life networks, and those who *really* need information and communication structures are using them. corporations don't need them. smarmy suck.com writers don't need them.

    anyway, good riddance. for me, there isn't much option when it comes to getting local reporting [indymedia.org].
  • should be fiction. [joystick101.org]

    I'm a little slow, eh

  • Many articles combine a large body of original content with the comments posted by everyone, to create a totally new way of processing ideas.

    True, I read stories I'm only vaguely interested in, if the posters are lively that day. But we still need the original content to spark the discussion. That's the shame of Suck going under.

    However, I also agree that the user provided content is often more entertaining. But if everything turns into interlinking weblogs, doesn't everything end up under "meta"?

    I hope that sites that are a mix of the two [messageboardfury.com] can bridge the gap.

    I think there is a place for proffessional writers online. I think we'll see more collaborative journalism and even fiction [http] down the road.

  • One problem remains: What are Plastic, Slashdot and others going to link to once quality content producers such as Feed, Suck, and Salon dry up and become scarce?

    That's what The Register is for. Given the frequency /. links to them, you'd almost think someone was getting a kickback
  • Canucks would do well to check out buzz.ca [www.buzz.ca], which is also based on slashcode. Well, at least it is place for all of those Canadian interest stories that were rejected by other sites. Buzz.ca is a tad more balanced than Naomi Klein's slash-based nologo.org [nologo.org], which is so left-leaning that it's about to fall over, bless her heart.

    Kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org], another fine community site, has a completely different tone. Ditto for smokedot.org [smokedot.org], metamuscle.org [metamuscle.org], and countless other sites based on the same model.

    The fact that Plastic [plastic.com] has survived out of the group of three reinforces the strength of the slash-like model.

    With the price of publication at near zero dollars, is it any wonder why conventional sites aren't working? The dot-bomb era has reduced commercial interest in web sites that rely on intellectual property for revenue. The pendulum has swung the other way [canadacomputes.com], back towards a volunteer-run website model. The truth of the matter is that intellectual property is essentially free to distribute, but very expensive to produce.

    One problem remains: What are Plastic, Slashdot and others going to link to once quality content producers such as Feed, Suck, and Salon dry up and become scarce?

    [additional shameless self-promotion follows in .sig]

  • by tswinzig (210999) on Friday June 08, 2001 @08:36PM (#164979) Journal
    from the slashdot-vows-to-take-up-slack dept.

    Does this mean Slashdot will be hiring some actual writers? People that can generate some real content?

    Plastic will remain open, serving up some user generated content, which is apparently the cheapest way to operate on the net."

    Oh, nevermind then.
  • While I will always miss Polly Esther, it's probably all for the best. Like that marble you swallowed at the age of eight, all things in this life must pass, however painfully.

    It's time the bury the bug-eyed fish in the back yard and give that gun to some fire-arm buy-back program. The barrel, however, is stylish and we can make a wicked-cool chair out of it.

    There are, of course, several satire sites that can't go out of business because they never made any money in the first place [ridiculopathy.com].

  • This quote is from feedmag [feedmag.com]
    We maintained that there is a certain organic scale to web sites and internet companies -- really to any enterprise whatever its purpose -- and that FEED was by nature a small business that, under the right circumstances, could be a profitable one.
    Somewhere i heard they let go around 15 people - what were they doing? Most of feed is from freelance writers isn't it? I thought less so but still some for suck. What were these people doing? They said they were going to sell the slashcode version of plastic - but after 6 months, what did they add to slashcode? Removed some features?
    What do you always hear at these f'd companies? "this is the best job i ever had", " I have the most fun at this job", "I love everyone I work with" and I bet they also love the fact that they never have to produce, to actually do some frigging work. Six months with slashcode and nothing added? Any real company would have fired you in the first month.
    Sure, most of the "staff" wasn't working on slashcode, but what were they doing? Requesting menus from restaurants? Checking out the latest in bottled water?
  • Plastic will remain open, serving up some user generated content, which is apparently the cheapest way to operate on the net.

    Funny that Slashdot should mention this. If it wasn't for all the articles we submit and the twelve page anti-Katz rants we post, Taco would have been flipping burgers by now. :)

  • While the apparent demise of Feed and Suck is sure to generate speculation about the viability of original online content, Johnson sees the Plastic model of user-generated content as the Web's future.

    I really wonder if this be the case. Take the example of all those 'slash-code' sites they do not seem to be doing any better.

  • I think it is bad news in terms of media control and the web that suck.com has failed (?) but from a personal perspective the site for me was like reading Sanskrit routed several times through Babelfish. (Feedmag is a different issue, but its appeal was never as broad) I just assumed every time I checked out www.suck.com that the content must make sense to USA denizens only, but left scratching my head. Just look through the details of many Slashdot posters and you will find Europeans, New Zealanders and the like, not so Plastic.com and its sister site Suck. Yet though I tried for many months to take a shine to sites such as Plastic.com it was always USA talking to USA about USA issues. I don't think this is insignificant in the success of more topic focused sites like Slashdot. As has been mentioned in an earlier post, some sort of common dialogue is assumed here so it is a good discussion point for a potential few hundred million World At Large People and not just a few million in the USA. That, in the long term, makes business sense.
    Also being Libertarian is an offensively ideological perspective for many in the rest of the world. Although I think the quality of journalism in the Wired/Suck/Feedmag webring is quite high, I don't really like having a biased political point of view tainting so many articles. I think that if Suck.com had tried to find a wider more objective appeal (to the average internet user, NOT the average TV watcher) it would have survived. Then again, anyone can be wise in hindsight; the web is tough at the moment. The capital sheep flee from optimism to overreaction methinks in shunning Suck.com.
  • by iomud (241310) on Friday June 08, 2001 @10:25PM (#164986) Homepage Journal
    You obviously don't run a weblog for the money, I'm suprised they had "money" at all, one wouldn't think vc would be involved with a weblog, so the only revenue stream is running ads which is about the worst it's ever been on the net. What does one expect out of a weblog if they're in it for the money or can't or don't expect to survive without it. Fact is that the /. crew would probably do this for free because at one time they did and people liked it, hell if it all dropped out tomarrow I wouldn't blink for a second if /. popped up somewhere else and they were again doing things for free.
  • My guess is that were in sales
  • What's wrong with re-selling GPL software? At least there are few businesses out there making money this way.

    Art At Home [artathome.org]
  • I think you're right to compare plastic and slashdot with regard to demographics. But I disagree with your analysis that
    The broader the subject matter, the less compelling the appeal to a broader base of people. The narrower the subject matter, the stronger the potential appeal to a smaller base of people. They are failing because they thought if they focused on broad subjects...
    There used be this idea that quality editorial vision could unite a wide variety of subjects and be interesting to a wide variety of people. Automatic Media is/was very much in the tradition of Harper's, The New Yorker, and the Atlantic. At least they tried to do it with a minimum of snobbery. I don't think that Automatic Media's editorial vision was brilliant, but it wasn't bad.
    What is the Plastic.com POV? There isn't one, really. It isn't created BY a certain specialized community FOR a specialized community. It is a created by a conglomerate of differently-minded interests, lacking in a coherent POV, and it feels like it.
    I consider Plastic to be an alternative to the "ra-ra America" mainstream media. General interest sites like Plastic will be important alternatives in an AOL/Time-Disney.NET future. If there are only special interest sites out there, then we'll move towards what my high school poly-sci teacher called "issue voters". People who vote based on one hot-button issue (abortion, environment, etc.). So maybe there's something to that article [nytimes.com] about the Net and polarization of POV. The first thing it would point to is the elimination of general interest sites. Maybe what's needed are moderation systems that better encourage, um, moderation.

    I think another demographic issue that's at work here is bandwidth. I bet Slashdot's readership is much more likely than Plastic's to have high-bandwidth access. Any site works better when users have fat pipes. So maybe Slashdot is the only site that's really thriving, but with the current bandwidth situation, it may be the one of the only ones that could.

    Art At Home [artathome.org]

  • by TheSHAD0W (258774)
    I'd heard Suck.com was just taking the summer off.
  • I wonder what that kind of domain would go for... Hopefully it won't turn into something of an adult nature. (wink)
  • However, the massive bandwidth they use sure isn't cheap.
  • Part of the reason they don't do better is because:
    a) user generated stories/articles just aren't feasable for the topic (like talking about the new Blue's Clue's computer game- I'm sure there's some slashcode sites like this)
    or
    b) There are better places to get the same info
    or
    c) They are just trying to rip off slashdot completely which gets them nowhere

    So, some cases, this may be true, but for the majority it probably isn't.
  • Not only that, but many readers seem to have come from slashdot.

    --

  • and crackbaby.com still lives on... how's that for justice??
  • As a department head at a Fortune 40 company, I can tell you that your figures are pretty far off. I'm certainly not saying that my company is perfect by any means, but if any company follows the model you've mentioned...they're doomed. At the very least, there is bound to be layoffs looming in the near future.
  • Oh, I took it to mean that the commentary and reporting cluefulness will "suck" even more on Slashdot in the future.

    Perhaps that means more of Katz?

    Max
  • I don't know what kind of slave-labour you have but the mentioned figures seems to be a bit low. They certainly isn't to high as you suggest.

    RMS and the rest of the OSS gang is of cause out of touch with reality when they calculate minimum required company income from the US-typical yearly income of $35000/individual. A company run by them would go out of business in two seconds.

    But on the other hand, they are out of touch with reality when it comes to many things :)
  • some one better mirror suckdot then: http://www.suck.com/daily/1999/12/13/
    ----------- ---------------------------------------

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

Working...