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Fark NotNewsletter: This one weird trick deep-sixed digital media
Posted by DisseminationMonkey at 2019-02-19 2:48:55 PM (237 comments) | Permalink
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2387 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 Feb 2019 at 9:21 AM (17 weeks ago) | | share: more»
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A message from Drew Curtis:
Kentucky is my home and I love living here. One of the downsides however is I never just happen to run into digital media folks. I travel and meet folks for business, but it's always for specific reasons. I don't often get to sit down and just have a beer or grab coffee and catch up on general industry experiences and work-related concerns.
As a result, I see certain trends on Fark's end but I can't tell whether or not they are particular to just Fark or to the rest of digital media. For example, Fark's traffic has been holding steady for the past five years. The lack of growth worried me - were we doing something wrong? Then about a year ago I ran into some Web 2.0 folks who told me that everyone's traffic has been heading down since about 2012 - across all websites. So it turns out flat traffic is doing pretty well overall. It turns out most of the drop others are experiencing is no longer getting as much traffic from Facebook - on average most news sites' traffic from Facebook is down 97%. Yes, that's right. Not Fark though, mainly because we never relied on traffic from them in the first place. How did that happen?
A few years back, Facebook did a thing negatively referred to in the digital media industry as the "pivot to video." In short, Facebook got spooked by Snapchat, so they started pushing news outlets to produce more online video content. Media companies spent millions of dollars building video studios, staffed up video production, and then abruptly about a year ago, Facebook suddenly changed their mind and dropped the whole thing like it never happened. They also de-prioritized news content at the same time. Most of the huge digital media layoffs we've seen in the past few weeks are directly related to this series of events.
Although Fark didn't participate in the pivot to video, one side effect was advertisers started switching to video ads. While Fark wasn't negatively impacted by the traffic drop that hit everyone else (because we've never relied too much on traffic from search or social media), it is however the case that we don't run much of these types of ads. For a number of reasons, mainly related to video client load and privacy concerns but it gets more boring from here - anyone who wants to know more about technical side of the video ads issue can hit me up over a beer sometime.
Tl;dr, Fark doesn't currently run the high dollar types of ads advertisers are producing thanks to the pivot-to-video headfake, and as a result overall advertiser demand has dropped, which has resulted in a drop overall revenue. And it's not just us. Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo wrote this backgrounder about how the last three years look revenue-wise from his perspective - and apparently our experiences are industry-wide. In short, they've always done much better than us but they're seeing the same sharp downward trend. Read his article, and feel free to sign up for Prime over there if you like as well, I'm a subscriber myself.
As for how all this happened in the first place going back to the beginnings of the web in the mid '90s, I'm focusing mostly on this issue in the book I'm currently working on, which you'll get a copy of if you sign up for a one year TotalFark membership. It's a combination of the History of Fark and the History of Digital Media, along with some of the craziest things that I experienced as a result of running Fark for 20 years.
Additionally, next Wednesday we're going to give everyone a whole day of BareFark - we're going to drop all ads off the site so you can see what it's like. We prefer having you as a BareFark subscriber, mainly because we're not opposed to Adblock per se, but ads and subscriptions are the only ways we keep the lights on. There are many valid reasons for using an ad blocker, however Fark needs revenue from somewhere so we can make it another 20 years.
On the TotalFark side, I'm also going to try to start holding weekly drop-in office hours on TotalFark, probably on Fridays starting the second week in March (which would be March 8th). I say -try- because it all depends on my travel schedule, but if you'd like a chance to drop in and ask whatever you like, you'll soon have a weekly chance if you sign up for TotalFark.
I've been thinking a lot over the past few years about online communities in general. None of them protect their readers to the extent we do. We don't sell your email, your data, or allow third parties to track your every movement across our site (ie which threads you read/click like on/etc), unlike literally every other large platform out there. I very much dislike the long-term privacy implications of what Facebook and others are doing, and I believe platforms should defend their readers, not sell them out. Along those lines, I've got a series of ideas and proposals that would enhance Fark along the lines of increased privacy, and a moonshot that it could eventually impact the rest of the Internet as well. We're probably looking at a 3 - 5 year time horizon and a significant cash outlay. But that's what I'm looking to build. Basically I want it to exist for my kids.
For that matter, if anyone's looking to invest a Series A level amount of money, I'd be open to a conversation. Drop me a line. We could get there quicker.
Meanwhile, Fark just turned 20 and we wouldn't be here without TotalFark. TotalFark got us through the early years, it helped us survive the great recession, and we need your help again to get through this latest blip on the radar. Thanks to everyone who's contributed and kept us going. We're proud of what we've built and we're proud of the community we have here. Thanks for being part of it.
We now return you to your usual Fark NotNewsletter.
Some of the top-voted smartest and funniest comments from the past week
cowgirl toffee explained why a USB stick still works after being found in seal poop
TheSwizz shared a story about a vanity license plate being ruined
rewind2846 saw evidence that a witness to a multi-car pileup wasn't all that bright
Unobtanium thought of what a former FBI and CIA director might have said to a phone scammer
farkingismybusiness reacted to a shootout in front of a restaurant
One particular thread was relevant to bearded clamorer's interests
A strange video of Jennifer Garner made NuclearPenguins very happy
vudukungfu knew what a camera operator's companion was thinking
drayno76 is a multi-talented artist
holdmybones had a doctor who barks orders at patients
palladiate explained why "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" wasn't a good movie
swaniefrmreddeer summed up Chris Pratt's defense of the church he belongs to
Coconice was surprised to side with police officers in a shooting
BizarreMan shared a story about an office joker who needed to learn a lesson
Fizpez had an idea for cutting down on scam phone callers
WilderKWight argued that killing certain animals is the same as murder
BadReligion explained the decision to stop carrying guns
Xcott was impressed by a mansplainer's tenacity
winedrinkingman saw terrible irony in what some Christian missionaries were doing
Parthenogenetic helpfully did some Becky math
CSB Sunday Morning: I've got a bad feeling about this
Smart: Sarah Jessica Farker didn't trust a sedan
Funny: chicken_little felt someone watching from above
CSB [Cool Story, Bro] Sunday Morning is a thread where Farkers share stories based on a weekly topic. If you have a topic idea for a CSB Sunday Morning thread, please submit it on Saturday afternoon/evening (if you're posting an intro, you'll want to write it out first so you can copy and paste it in for the Boobies), or email dugitman.
Note: This section can only be accessed by TotalFarkers
Funny: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat defended a fellow Farker from a mean lunch lady
Funny: Solty Dog was disrespectful to the lead tech
Funny: Brawndo explained the difference between the Vitamix 5200 and 7500 models
Funny: Dr. Tuttle let us know how much time it takes to raise money for a new car
Funny: merrillvillain regretted not refreshing the thread before commenting
Straight Outta Wells Branch imagined Alex Jones being sentenced
Mr. Coffee Nerves knew what Donald Trump likes in his omelets
Bootleg was surprised to learn what was done with Charles Manson's body
ralphjr imagined Fox News Channel discussing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's dress
Eddie Adams from Torrance thought it was a bad idea for Robert Mueller's team to interview Sarah Sanders
AdmirableSnackbar predicted a way in which Trump's national emergency declaration could backfire
markie_farkie thought that Mike Pence was being a hypocrite
Eddie Adams from Torrance wanted to remind Donald Trump Jr. about Republicans' reaction after the Affordable Care Act was passed
JolobinSmokin celebrated one of Donald Trump's achievements
GooberMcFly asked a question about Trump's tweet about open borders attracting Latin Americans
Some of the top-voted contest entries from last week, listed from highest number of votes down
RedZoneTuba would gladly pay you Tuesday for some mustard today
RedZoneTuba had a member of the military become the new White House press secretary
Daddy's Big Pink Man-Squirrel found that Mickey Mouse has met his demise
thatguyoverthere70 showed us what happened to Speedy Gonzales
Stephen_Falken discovered another guy who's been exposed by the #MeToo movement
Don_cos showed us Drew's competition in the race to become Kentucky's Auditor of Public Accounts
thatguyoverthere70 found Republicans preparing for the next election
X-Geek helped a dalmatian blend in
Circusdog320 found out that ACME has a different kind of product now
RedZoneTuba had something better than a tauntaun to ride
Morchella won Farktography Contest No. 719: "Ice Ice Baby" with ice from freezing rain
Farktography is Fark's weekly photography contest. If you would like to suggest a Farktography theme, you can contact Elsinore or stop by the Farktography Forum.
Upcoming Fark Parties
See Farkers up close in their unnatural habitats
Tuesday, February 26: Las Vegas Fark and 50th Birthday Party (please note the date has changed)
Friday, March 15: Fort Collins, CO Fark Party
Fark Weird News Quiz Results (brought to you by ox45tallboy)
Yet another fun time on the Quiz this week, although once again the 1000 club remains empty. I'll try and soften it a bit this week so we can get a packed house for the AAF games this weekend (we're all watching the AAF, right?)
As far as scores, Lamberts Ho Man came out on top with 10/11 and a very nice 909, followed by AirForceVet in second with 878 and dantanner in third with 870. Denjiro made fourth with 855, and The Third Man is the Fifth Man (well, person) this week with 853.
The hardest question on the Hard Quiz was over which athletic apparel company thought it would be a great idea to rebrand one of its existing shoes as a tribute to Black History Month. And make it all-white. And make it out of cotton. Only 35% of quiztakers knew that it was Adidas who somehow didn't have anyone at the company in any kind of position of authority who stood up and said, "you know, maybe this isn't such a good idea?"
The easiest question on the Hard Quiz was about Artificial Intelligence-designed off-the-shelf seasoning blends. 90% of quiztakers knew that McCormick was working with IBM's Watson team to get some flavors designed by a computer. I mean, if there's one thing I trust when it comes to finding the stuff that tastes best, it's a chef who can't actually taste anything and has to go on what a bunch of other people think tastes good to them. I kinda look forward to the reviews.
The hardest question on the Easy Quiz was about the New Jersey's Villa Italia Kitchen and their $25 Fyre Festival Pizza. Only 50% of quiztakers knew of the infamous Styrofoam tray sandwich with two slices of individually-wrapped processed cheese on two pieces of plain white bread that made the rounds on Instagram during the ill-fated concert. Villa Italian Kitchen's take was a wedge of pizza dough with a touch of tomato sauce and those same kind of processed cheese slices - still in the packaging. Still a better deal than what you get at the average NFL game.
The easiest question on the Easy Quiz was over what document had gone back on display in the Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England after an attempted theft last year. 89% of quiztakers knew that it was an original copy of the Magna Carta the hammer-wielding thief had been after. For the record, there is no evidence that the Continental Congress ever sent an actual copy to King George or to Parliament, although at least two copies still in existence made their way to the British government in 1776. All three known "official" copies in England are held in the National Archives in London.
If you missed the quiz last week, you can catch up on it here. Congrats to the winners, and we'll be doing it all again this week.
Fark Headlines of the Week (brought to you by blythe)
We had a great time with Headline of the Year 2018 and we're slowly working our way through the new Headlines of the Week to get caught up with this new year!
Thanks as always to our amazing submitters and to our TotalFark voters. These are the headlines we love to share and say "*this* is Fark."
Here are a few of our favorites, check out here for all the Fark Headlines of the Week
Kentucky man with a bad temper throws Christmas ham at woman, still not cured
Our top guys suck, they're soft on pucks. *CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP* Deep in the heart of Texas. Jim Lites he rants, on head his pants. * CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP* Deep in the heart of Texas
Scientists create a 'metamagnetism' compound, which is a fancy way to say 'cool magnet'. Ytterbium, is there something it cannot do?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Forgot 1040 EZ / R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Byline, TMZ
Top U.S. general details President Trump's Middle East withdrawal plans and strategy. In short: ¯\_★(ツ)★_/¯
20 years later: Yes, you can finally have no bananas
Put down the knife, Eh. I'll be forced to give you a warm hug if you don't. Beware, I am flannel belt
Hey, the world needs coconut pickers
Voting for headlines is one of the perks of being a TotalFarker. You can join TotalFark here.
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