What is Fark?
The first thing you should know is that Fark.com isn't a Weblog. Fark.com, the Web site, is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site. Every day Fark receives 2,000 or so news submissions from its readership, from which we hand-pick the funny and weird notable news -- and not-news -- of the day.
Fark isn't an acronym. It doesn't mean anything. The idea was to have the word Fark come to symbolize news that is really Not News. Hence the slogan "It's not news, it's Fark." Fark was originally a word Drew became known for using online back in the early 1990s. He can't remember why, but his guess is that it was either to replace another F-word or that he was just drunk and mistyped something. He tells everyone it was the former since it's a better story that way.
Four letter domain names were getting snapped up quickly, so on a whim in the summer of 1997 Drew checked to see if Fark.com was available. It was, and he grabbed it. At the time the only thing you could do with a Web site was put up what was then called a vanity site. This was almost all the Internet consisted of back in 1997. Think of vanity sites as poorly coded MySpace pages. Yes, MySpace pages look pretty bad, but these were worse. Drew didn't want to use the Fark.com domain name for a vanity site, so he decided to wait until he had a better idea.
For the first two years of Fark.com's existence (1997-1999), all you got was this picture of a squirrel with big nuts:
He spent the next couple of years drinking and promptly forgot all about the domain. One day in February 1999 he had an epiphany - or a really good buzz - who knows.... He was sitting in his living room, thinking long and hard about starting Fark. He decided that if he was going to do it, he would have to do it every single day. He took a deep breath, grabbed a fresh beer, and jumped in. His friends evidently told other people about Fark and it caught on like a house on fire (or that weird ass rash you don't want to tell anyone about) and that's how it all started.
The first year Fark received 50,000 page views. That's a respectable number for a site started from scratch. The second year it was a million. The number one highest-traffic corporate Internet hitting Fark's servers was CNN. Number two: Fox News.
What is Fark exactly? Fark is what fills space when mass media runs out of news. Fark is supposed to look like news... but it's not news. It's Fark.
What is TotalFark?
Totalfark is your key to the part of Fark that most people don't get to see. When Fark first started, the links were fewer and put up exclusively by Drew. As Farkers began to submit their headlines with stories, there were more than would fit on the front page. When Drew picked a headline he liked, there was natural curiosity of what wasn't picked. So in 2002, Drew created Totalfark, which gave Farkers the behind-the-scenes view of Fark. All of the headlines, all of the comments that didn't make the front page were visible here.
Over time, Totalfark has evolved, and in addition to communities on Totalfark--such as the Totalfark Discussion area and things like cafes and the various Last Post threads--Totalfarkers (TFers for short) also have a lot of side benefits:
- Only Totalfarkers get to upvote and downvote headlines
- Totalfarkers are the first to get Fark-related updates on proposed changes, for input and opinion before site-wide launch
- No duplicate URL blocking for TotalFarkers - There's nothing more frustrating than having a great headline and finding out that someone already submitted the link, which was redlit. TotalFarkers bypass that block
- Participate early in Photoshop, Caption and other contests: Photoshoppers in particular get to post their submissions early, meaning the get maximum attention (and votes)
- TotalFark Discussion - Only a portion of TotalFarkers are found in greenlit threads. Most of them are on the TotalFark Discussion (TFD) tab, which is more freeform and discussions are about anything and everything.
- Smaller community - With fewer TotalFarkers, it's easier to meet people and be known. It's a smaller community that's tremendously more active as a community. If threads on Fark are like a giant house party, threads on TF are like hanging out with your friends at a bar.
- If you sign up for a 6-month or longer subscription to TotalFark, you can get your username on an ultrafark email address
- Lower flood protection threshold on comments
And don't forget, when you're a TotalFarker, you're directly supporting our community, and in a small but important way, you're helping Fark thrive. Anything Fark gets in terms of subscriptions helps reduce our reliance on outside advertising. Every TF subscription brings us closer to that goal.
For more info on these features, see the TotalFark Questions section.
You can sign up for TotalFark at https://www.fark.com/totalfarksignup, for only $5 per month, or $50 for the entire year.
What is BareFark?
BareFark is Fark without ads for people who would like to support Fark anyhow. You can sign up for BareFark at https://www.fark.com/barefarksignup, for only $2.50 per month, or $25 for the entire year.
Signing up for BareFark is a low cost way of supporting Fark and not seeing ads. Additionally, BareFark allows us to provide an all-SSL (HTTPS) version of Fark -- something an ad-blocker cannot do -- which would keep the NSA from finding out about your strange fascination with Florida among other things.
BareFark removes all ads, including the ads/sponsored links that rotate in the 4th and 10th link placements (however, it will not remove "normal" sponsored links - regular links that we get paid for, always labeled with the words "Sponsored Link" but otherwise just like regular links). Here are some screenshots of how it looks on desktop and mobile.
Fark, the Book
Fark has a book called "It's Not News It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News". Click for details on the Fark Book.