From 1996, a Wired article by Josh Quittner about Suck, Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff’s now-legendary website.
Who at HotWired noticed the look of dread and tension on the faces of Carl and Joey when Suck secretly launched like a torpedo on August 28, 1995? Carl tied his desktop machine at HotWired into his server, which was hidden in plain sight among the array of hardware, so he could watch as people logged in to Suck that first day. This is the coldly accurate terror of the new medium: Carl could tell at any second not only how many people were logged in to his server, but in some cases, who they were.
On that first day, a hundred people found Suck — not a bad turnout considering the Boys told only their friends. Naturally, their friends told their friends, and good news travels like a sweet breeze across the Web.
This was critical since Carl had set some ambitious goals: he wanted 1,000 hits by the end of the week, he wanted to be more successful than any HotWired channel by the end of two months, and he wanted to be the Cool Site of the Day within three months.
Suck made each benchmark.
Some notes: 1) Suck was one of the handful of sites that inspired me to start publishing online. Thank you, Carl & Joey. 2) I loved the site so much that I build a parody of it called Sock. They linked to it soon after it went up and I DIED. Can’t link to it because 0sil8, my site from that era, isn’t online right now. 3) I applied for an internship at Hotwired in early 1996. Never heard back. What an alternate timeline that would have been. 4) Reading this made me sad. I love the Web so much, like more than is probably sane and healthy for a non-human entity, but nearly every other good thing in my life has happened because of it. And that Web is going quickly, if not already gone. All good things… and all that, but it still fucking wrecks me.
Blast from the past…internet luminary trading cards from Suck.com, circa 1997.
Also, frames! (via mlkshk)
Proposed SXSW panel: a suck.com reunion organized by Ana Marie Cox, aka Ann O’Tate.
While its sarcasm traits set Suck apart from the great majority of (painfully earnest) West Coast-based technology “ezines”, Suck’s lasting legacy is only partially based on the words it contained. Rather, Suck changed forever the way people think about writing for the web — they perfected, if not invented, the practice of embedding links not as explanatory reference points but as commentary in and of themselves. Suck imploded rather unspectacularly, but its journey offers lessons: From purchase by a deep-pocket media company (Wired) to a quick-hit book project, to its ultimately deadly jump into crowd-generated content. Is that a cycle most indie projects are doomed to complete? For a publication devoted to debunking Panglossian outlooks on the mediasphere, a shocking number of Suck alumni have turned up, closing on two decades later, as influential, even aspirational, figures in their own right, with careers based on bridging the still-extant (if narrowing) gap between old and new media.
As I told a friend a few months ago, if someone launched a site with Suck’s voice and spirit today, it would *kill*. (The Awl comes pretty close.)
Classic Geocities site: Walter Miller’s Home page. Suck featured the site back in Jan 1996 when it was on Prodigy. According to Ready Steadman Go, Suck co-founder Carl Steadman was rumored to be behind Miller’s site. Ready Steadman Go was run by Ben and Mena Trott, who also formed a little company called Six Apart which makes the software on which kottke.org runs.
Anyway, Walter’s Home page will soon be gone. Looks like Cartoon Girls I Wanna Nail has already been banished to the land of wind and ghosts. Oh, and whatever happened to Carl? Plastic is still going but is he still at the helm? (via waxy)
Update: Geocities is now dead, and Walter Miller’s Home page with it. Here’s an archived version. (thx, tim)
Greg Allen still has his bottle of Suck Cola from when the now-defunct web site Suck was handing them out at a trade show in 1996. He’s building a registry of Suck Cola bottles…if you’ve got one, send in the details.
After your Cola information is reviewed and validated, you will be issued a Suck Cola Registry Number. I have designated my bottle SC0005, having reserved the first four Registry Numbers, SC0001-SC0004, for Suck.com co-founders Joey Anuff and Carl Steadman.
Suck the web site has now been dead for as long as it was active, but the Cola lives on.
After four days as a porn site, suck.com is back to its old self. No explanation yet about the outage.
Suck.com is (temporarily? forever?) a porn site. If it’s gone for good, it’s the end of an era. (thx, owen)
Update: Andy’s got more info and is trying to see if an archive exists anywhere.
Greg reminded me that today is the 10th anniversary of the launch of Suck. I started reading a few weeks after it launched, but I do remember going back to read the first article that kicked it off. Here’s a lengthy and comprehensive look at Suck’s history.