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August 6, 2004 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Followup: Wired runs an article called "Fark Sells Out, France Surrenders". Drew Curtis writes a response (note the sycophantic totalfarkers and more annoyed normal-farkers) -- but, as the article says, "when pressed on the issue, Curtis refused to deny that Fark accepts payment for placement of links". Was this really a case of one sales rep getting "a little overenthusiastic"? Is Drew ever actually going to deny selling Fark out, or will he just keep writing non-responses detailing his plans for selling it out even more in the future?
posted by reklaw (43 comments total)

 
Any article that compares the advertising policies of Fark and Forbes is pure gold...
posted by wendell at 6:56 PM on August 6, 2004


It's always seemed obvious to me that the adult links were advertisements. I've never gotten the feeling that any other links were paid for, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. I definitely think that its kind of sleazy to not advertise which links have been paid for.
posted by PigAlien at 7:42 PM on August 6, 2004


It's pretty obvious which links are paid for -- the comments on the paid links are generally filled with grousing about how poor the link is, how annoying all the paid links are, etc. Many of the adult links are paid, but also a fair number of the non-adult ones. Makes me wonder how much of the right-wing agitprop that gets to the front page over there is paid for.
posted by Zonker at 7:48 PM on August 6, 2004


I'm a paying Fark user, and I don't particularly care if Drew accepts payments for links, and I'm satisfied with his handling of the issue. Does this make me a sycophant reklaw? Just curious.
posted by Voivod at 8:03 PM on August 6, 2004


I'm very sorry to hear that you give fark your money.
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:11 PM on August 6, 2004


Voivod: Yes. Next question?
posted by reklaw at 8:14 PM on August 6, 2004


The raw Fark article submission queue is the antithesis of Metafilter in every way, and I'm very happy to pay to get access to it. :-)
posted by Voivod at 8:19 PM on August 6, 2004


So, is my irony sense tingling for nothing, or does the print version of Wired still run like 20 pages of advertorial per issue?
posted by arto at 8:41 PM on August 6, 2004


MetaFilter is the antithesis of Fark in every way, and while I do visit Fark every few days, mostly for the Photoshop contests, I have never bothered to set up even a non-paying non-premium account there. However, I'd be very happy to pay to get access to MetaFilter, except, if Matt did charge for it, then it would no longer be the antithesis of Fark in every way.

I could go into all of the "big media" ethical problems, but I am way too lazybusy to do it right now.
posted by wendell at 8:50 PM on August 6, 2004


Next question?

Was there really a compelling reason to craft a whole new post on this subject when the previous one, also by you, was only 4 days old?

Next question?

Should we now expect a new post from you every time someone writes about Fark selling links?
posted by boaz at 8:59 PM on August 6, 2004


Was there really a compelling reason to craft a whole new post on this subject when the previous one, also by you, was only 4 days old?

The fact that it got picked up by Wired? The fact that Drew still hasn't denied it?

Should we now expect a new post from you every time someone writes about Fark selling links?

Not unless cnn.com decides to put up an article about it or something...
posted by reklaw at 9:04 PM on August 6, 2004


The fact that it got picked up by Wired? The fact that Drew still hasn't denied it?

I'll take that as a no then.
posted by boaz at 9:16 PM on August 6, 2004


OK, so you can all make fun of me, but I usually go over to fark right after I check in on mefi. Mostly for the boobies, but sometimes, when the mood strikes me, for teh weiners. I was actually taken aback by the news that Fark was bought and paid for. I don't really mind it so much, it makes sense in retrospect, I just wish that Drew had said something before it came to the Wired article. (Props to arto for picking up the irony - my sensors have been down like metafilter lately. Maybe if mathowie sold out he could get a real server in real server room. Course, maybe with his career as an industry observer taking off that won't be necessary:) Coming out like this and the non-admission just makes it feel dirty. Kinda like Lucky or Cargo or those other 'magalogues'.
posted by jmgorman at 9:20 PM on August 6, 2004


he he, magalogue, that reminds me of manwich.
posted by jmgorman at 9:21 PM on August 6, 2004


does the print version of Wired still run like 20 pages of advertorial per issue?

Yeah it does, but the top of every page has a handy label that says "advertising". Drew might want to learn from it :)
posted by mathowie at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2004


I'm very sorry to hear that you give fark your money.

I think the the Fark-is-Sooo-Beneath-Me pose is very cute ;)

Reminds me of the infamous Onion article, "Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television".
posted by dhoyt at 10:17 PM on August 6, 2004


I think this says it all:

"Anyhow we're working on it. In the meantime feel free to discuss this issue but only in this thread. Fark has a policy against threadjacking, and this includes off-topic posts in other threads. It's not a censorship issue, it's a readability issue.

We apologize for not being clearer about what we do and don't do. In the meantime please enjoy Nick Denton's short piece on media whores.

2004-08-06 02:28:02 PM Phear


You da man Drew.

2004-08-06 02:30:12 PM Karmacidal


I hate Burger King.

2004-08-06 02:30:30 PM Gwinny


Way to go, Drew. *applauds*

2004-08-06 02:30:56 PM sevah


bah, drew's the man. make your money, it's all good.

2004-08-06 02:31:31 PM Smookyfufu


Oh nooee1!!1!! FArk hasea solde outse!!!!"
posted by xammerboy at 10:27 PM on August 6, 2004


Fark can gnaw gnarly gnu testicles.
posted by troutfishing at 10:53 PM on August 6, 2004


Fark :(
posted by braksandwich at 10:57 PM on August 6, 2004


Yeah it does, but the top of every page has a handy label that says "advertising".

Right, like Teen Vogue, Wired, Modern Bride, and other quality Conde Nast publications would never let their advertisers determine article content. No sir. That never happens in the print industry. And this isn't the reason why everyone I know canceled their Wired subscriptions years ago.

Stay tuned people for rekaw's exciting FPP tomorrow revealing that... Stile at the Stile Project gets paid for some of his links! Oh my god... panties... knotting... outrage... building...
posted by Voivod at 11:21 PM on August 6, 2004


I'll bet a quarter that at least some significant quantity of disapproving comments were removed from that page, leaving only that slew of pro-Drew comments that you see now.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:24 PM on August 6, 2004


I met Drew last year at a Fark party and interviewed him "off the record" for an article that was never published...

I quit going to Fark years ago after I grew tired of the low-brow tone.

Interestingly, Drew confirmed that he has a conservative bias and that it works its way into the links and tag lines. Essentially he said that the site was for that early 20-something frat-boy who would probably "grow up" to vote republican. True story.
posted by wfrgms at 11:46 PM on August 6, 2004


What? That's just crazy talk, mfrgms!
posted by keswick at 1:06 AM on August 7, 2004


Voivod, I suspect that you're barking up the wrong tree here. Major publications adhere to quite stringent rules prohibiting any covert mix of advertising and editorial. Which is, of course, quite a different thing from running PR sponsored articles proposed by commercial interests!

It's simply bad practice not to label advertising as advertising, whichever way you cut it!
posted by Duug at 2:25 AM on August 7, 2004


wfrgms ... if that kind of eloquence and intelligence is typical of our frat boy republican overlords, we're in a lot of trouble
posted by pyramid termite at 2:37 AM on August 7, 2004


Fark isn't perfect but it remains a daily must-read. Duke still sucks
posted by anser at 2:58 AM on August 7, 2004


Which is, of course, quite a different thing from running PR sponsored articles proposed by commercial interests!

This is exactly Vovoid's point. This is such a blurry line that I find it hard to believe that anybody believes that those types of publications give unbiased, unpaid for information, ever. I mean Fark is what it is, just as Wired is what it is, the NYT is what it is and Metafilter is what it is. If you can't tell the difference, well there's not much hope (for you), is there?
posted by sic at 5:16 AM on August 7, 2004


Btw, I agree that the Fark "scandal" really doesn't deserve two posts in a week (or in a lifetime).
posted by sic at 5:17 AM on August 7, 2004


wfrgms: I quit going to Fark years ago after I grew tired of the low-brow tone.

Yeah, MeFi is definately the hangout for the more mature and discerning netizens, maybe because of all the callouts in MetaTalk after someone calls someone else a girly-man or something :-)
posted by Meridian at 5:22 AM on August 7, 2004


REALLY IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM REKLAW IN RE: FARK:

Not a god damn thing has changed.

Gee, thanks lassie. You can stop barking now.

As for the actual issue: god, I just couldn't care less. I take a look at fark occasionally, since it's an easy place to pick up news of the weird stuff. The fratboy bias has always been obvious, and I've never paid it much attention. I'm neither surprised nor dismayed that he accepts cash in exchange for getting a link up quickly, because my god, why would I care? And for the ten thousand dollar question, why would I care if I virulently hated the place?

Let it go and move on, good sir knight. If you really feel the need to fight for truth (also justice), go rescue a kitten or something.
posted by kavasa at 6:02 AM on August 7, 2004


Rescue?
posted by PrinceValium at 6:10 AM on August 7, 2004


wfrgms: I met Drew last year at a Fark party and interviewed him "off the record" for an article that was never published...

I quit going to Fark years ago after I grew tired of the low-brow tone.


Fair enough, but then you wound up at a Fark party? Just by accident? It's not like those things just jump out on the side of the road.

More importantly, however, are you actually bragging here about violating Drew's confidence? If you were interviewing him for "an article," as you said here, I'll assume that you're some sort of "journalist," and should therefore understand that breaching confidentiality it is on a par with, say, publishing advertorial, which is the horrendous crime everyone is bitching about here.

Now, I don't care much about the advertorial thing - although it's admittedly somewhat disappointing - but I just can't believe that in the process of criticizing Drew's journalistic integrity, you're smearing shit all over your own.
posted by Sinner at 8:49 AM on August 7, 2004


I think this was posted in the comments of the last Fark post, but my understanding is that you can see all the paid ads (and err, adult links) right here. This is linked fairly prominently from the front page.

I'm really quite incredulous about how many people find it incredulous that they sell links. Even if it's not explicitly mentioned, I've thought it obvious for a long time. It doesn't bother me personally, but I definitely do not expect journalistic integrity from a site who's main draw is 'boobies links.'
posted by sinical at 8:53 AM on August 7, 2004


Is it too late to start a 'double post' argument?
(That's a rhetorical question by the way)
posted by apocalypse miaow at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2004


wfrgms: If you must go around breaking people's trust, I do hope you've stopped calling yourself a journalist, or whatever you were calling yourself to do anything "off the record" with Drew. If you're having difficulty distinguishing what all the terms means, off the record means you can't use it, ever. Background means you can use it without quoting or identifying the subject.

And this is all off the record, on the qt and very, very hush hush.
posted by haqspan at 9:54 AM on August 7, 2004


Am I the only person that thinks "It's Drew's site, he can do what he wants"?

After all, it does say "its not news, its fark". I don't see anything where the site claims to be "fair and balanced" in what it links to or reports.

Sure, I expect MeFi to be fair and balanced (and matthowie does a wonderful job of avoiding Pepsi Blue), but fark, that's another thing alltogether.
posted by mrbill at 10:37 AM on August 7, 2004


I think the only journalistic standard wfrgms breached was taking his info about Drew Farker somewhere he couldn't get paid for it.

Just another "messenger-killing" exercise from the ideology that itself perfected using journalism as a weapon.
posted by wendell at 11:05 AM on August 7, 2004


1) Pick a non-issue related to a high traffic site to exploit.
2) Draw attention to said non-issue enough to attract slow-news-day "journalists" and bloggers.
3) ????
4) Profit!

Calacanis is just trying to draw attention to himself and his weblogsinc blogpire. My god, the SAR was like the National Enquirer of the dotcom boom. This guy is a seasoned pro at this sort of schlock.
posted by shoepal at 6:44 PM on August 7, 2004


Yeah, MeFi is definately the hangout for the more mature and discerning netizens, maybe because of all the callouts in MetaTalk after someone calls someone else a girly-man or something :-)

Used to be, until the Farkalikes drove so many of our best and brightest away with their emoticon-laden OMGLOL vibrating broomsticks!!!1! stuff. Get the hell offa my lawn, you little bastards! [/cranky oldtimer]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:07 PM on August 7, 2004


IFILM SUCKS

/farker.

Given that Ifilm links to videos that can be seen in better quality elsewhere are often posted, and complained about it's pretty clear that they are paid for. Everyone knows this.
posted by delmoi at 8:04 PM on August 7, 2004


I'm with mrbill on this one. It is Drew's site, so what if he makes a little money off of it? It's like what everyone around here says: If you don't want to go to a certain site, no one is forcing you to click the link. This is such a non-issue.
posted by chiababe at 8:22 PM on August 7, 2004


sheesh, Drew may make millions-bazillions off the site for all I care, so he can buy bigger servers and keep on Farking - its the fact that the ad-links aren't labelled as such that bugs people.
posted by dabitch at 4:21 AM on August 8, 2004


To anyone still paying attention to this thread...

If you'll notice I wrote "off the record" in quotations... I intended this to mean that the interview was very informal. Myself, Drew and everyone else involved in the evening had consumed vast quantities of adult beverages... but there was never a moment when I was told or agreed to anything legitimately "off the record' - I apologize for the above confusion.

At the time - and this was roughly a year ago - perhaps in the middle of 2003 Drew was in town to do what he called his "real work" - which was some sort of IT consulting. He made it obvious to me that he was happy so long as Fark was paying for itself. He had also just had a kid.

This change at Fark - allowing paid placement - doesn't surprise me at all. Drew's kid is probably a year or two old now, he's probably sick of flying all over the place consulting (or perhaps that work has dried up) and finally he's turned to Fark as a (probably) minor source of income. Good for him.

In regards to my comment that I had quit going to Fark long ago because I grew tired of the "tone" of the website - well, that’s the truth. The general tone of the tag lines at Fark doesn't agree with me. After the thousandth time you read "France surrenders" (and this is pre-Iraq War II) it just ceases to be funny. Still there was a time (throughout 1999 and 2000) when I went to Fark multiple times daily. It was because of this history with the website that I chose to go to the Fark Party and pick Drew's brain.
posted by wfrgms at 1:09 AM on August 13, 2004


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