Top 8 Reasons the new Cracked.com Is Doomed to Fail
Behold: Cracked 2.0! A site so jam-packed with new features, you'd think we did something other than churn out Digg-baiting top 10 lists.
This is what happens when a bunch of dudes wind up with literally hundreds of dollars in investor money to spend. We yanked the wheels off the car and replaced them with hundreds of cardboard rocket engines, then parked that sucker on the edge of a cliff.
Here's eight reasons this whole thing is going to end in tears and firetrucks.
#8. We're allowing readers to actually talk to each other
Let's face it, on the scale of things you're proud to do on a daily basis, visiting Cracked.com ranks somewhere between ignoring the homeless and lusting after the cast of High School Musical. Hell, we don't think a single person on the editorial staff has told their parents what they do for a living.
Which is why we're giving you the opportunity to create a user profile, and become a part of the Cracked community. All of you out there dying to let the world know that you love top 10 lists packed with dick jokes can now sing it from mountain tops. And, if you thought our writers and editors were cantankerous assholes with annoying opinions about everything, just wait until you meet our readers!
Because they will undoubtedly agree with you.
Historical Precedent: Bill Simmons, online royalty and owner of one of the most adoring fan bases on the Web gave the whole community/Web 2.0 thing a spin in January.
One of his most popular recurring features is the mailbag, where he answers absurd questions from readers. So, it made total sense that ESPN would create an open forum under his articles for readers to interact with each other. Of course, the comments section was immediately flamed with thousands upon thousands of comments about how he sucked. And, people actually like Bill Simmons! Imagine what's going to happen to us!
We're showing up last to the blog buffet
Adding a blog to your site these days is like adding an Atari to your home-entertainment system. Blogs were cool for a few weeks back in 1989 when they were invented by Doogie Howser, M.D. They were cynically adopted by the mainstream media soon after, and have since become the Internet equivalent of snap bracelets and the Rubick's Cube.
The only people who use the word "blog" these days are Arianna Huffington and the guides at the Museum of Natural History. Smartly, Cracked decided to give ours a name that would distance us from this rapidly aging Web trend: The Official Cracked Blog.
The real death knell of any Internet fad is having AOL get in on the action. Of course, AOL purchased Weblogs Inc. three years ago. That's right, we got beat to the punch by AOL (by three years), which is like losing a game of slaps to Robert DeNiro's character in Awakenings.
#6. We've made
yet another Digg clone
This is going to blow your freaking minds, but we've transformed our Web links section so you guys can submit and vote on the funniest links of the day.
While we've never been to this site called "Digg" people keep telling us about, we understand that they have a pretty similar thing going on over there.
AOL already tried that, too! Specifically, they tried to turn the front page of one-time Internet titan Netscape into Digg.
It wasn't a total copy. They had thumbnails next to the stories and they bothered to change the header so it said Netscape instead of Digg. But, it was a pretty obvious trend poaching, and users stayed away in droves.
When asked to explain the failure, AOL Chief Tom Drapeau said "users do have a desire for a social news experience, but simply didn't expect to find it on Netscape.com." They cut the quote off there, but we feel safe assuming that Drapeau went on to say that "users instead expect to find their social news experience on the websites of former MAD magazine competitors."
#5. We didn't put it all on one page
A few of the comments on Digg indicate the biggest problem with Cracked is that we sometimes split our articles over multiple pages. For instance, all 23 words in that first sentence are hyperlinked to a different comment to that effect.
Proving once again that we don't listen to a word anyone says, the redesigned Cracked.com isn't all on one page, either. In fact, the site is split up into literally thousands of pages. Once you get to the main page, you're going to have to click on an article to see it. Clicking on that article is going to take you to a whole other page. We recommend taking Dramamine before trying to navigate the new Cracked. Also, don't wear anything you don't mind sweating in, because there's going to be a LOT of clicking.
You know who else splits up words onto a bunch of different pages? Books! And, we know how much people like to read those these days. Meanwhile, the folks God chose, both in a general sense and to write comedy, realized how annoying multiple pages could be and printed their go-to text, The Torah, on one easy to navigate 50-pound role of sheepskin.
The blog is sort of the Web equivalent of the Torah in the sense that everything is on one easy-to-"scroll" page. We're thinking about making our blog display an ad between every sentence, just to balance things out.
#4. The jumping of the shark
At the meeting to decide what new direction we wanted to take the site, there was some slight differences in opinion.
"Pictures of those funny lolcatz doin thingz in yur websitez," suggested a contributor.
"More lists. Lists about lists. The top 8 lists about lists. No, no, 9. The top 9. Is anyone listening to me!?," shouted another.
"Photos of my genitals. Tasteful ones, black and white, mostly," offered an editor. "Wait," he clarified while being dragged out of the building. "I would arrange my testicles and fit them into elaborate re-creations of famous paintings and scenes from iconic movies ... I've got costumes."
While it was pretty clear what we didn't want Cracked to be (specifically, an all-dick re-imagining of Da Vinci's Last Supper), it was also obvious none of us really had any idea what we did want to be. Ultimately, we decided that if we gave ourselves a snazzy new logo treatment, the rest of the site would fall into place.
This is shaping up to be the website equivalent of Garth Brooks' attempt to release a rock album as Chris Gaines, or Sylvester Stallone's attempt to corner the comedy market with Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. We're thinking the next few months will be like one long, drawn-out version of the "You Got the Touch" section of Boogie Nights, with Cracked editors telling users that "the fucking heart and soul that we put into this website is ours, and you don't own that!"
Our new logo took 30 seconds to design
We made some bold choices with the original, Cracked 1.0 logo (Yellow letters on a red background--what will people say?), but now we've taken it to a whole new level. See, there are subtle cracks behind the logo, and the name of the site is Cracked. Do you see what we did there?
Apparently, and for no discernible reason, we conquered the huge illiterate demographic back in the late '50s and, God bless 'em, they've stuck with us ever since. The cracks serve as a nice visual to remind our target demo where they are, as they stare at the strange symbols and try to figure out what they're doing with a computer in the first place.
Seriously, though, it's important to have an image represent us. The cracks will forever be inextricably linked to the Cracked brand, and if we have an image or a mascot for people to stand behind, it doesn't even matter what we do on our site; the people will follow the image no matter what.
#2. We're CRACKED
The last time something named "Cracked" tried a revival, it ended embarrassingly quickly. (Cough ... Our magazine tanked in 2006 ... Cough) We don't know if you realized this, but we're named Cracked so a lot of what we do, re-launches in particular, are destined to fail right from the get go.
Long before we invented the Internet, we invented the written word and, shortly thereafter, the printing press. While some people utilized the new device to mass produce Bibles, we felt a better service to society would be to print up a magazine that featured Nanny Dickering and thinly-veiled jabs at MAD magazine.
That magazine failed, but was revived and relaunched a few years ago with a brand new attitude. "Out with the Dickering, in with the Dick Jokes," was the motto no one wanted to acknowledge. Well, Cracked The Magazine 2.0 failed after just three issues, and the world is dumber because of it.
Sure, the website, unlike the magazine, is free. But, a terrible magazine can still be used as a coaster, fly swatter or emergency toilet paper. A bad website is nothing more than a leech that sucks away your precious time, leaving you that much closer to the day of your unsatisfying death.
#1. Our "Pointless Waste of Crack"
To further our goal of buying our way straight to the top of the Internet-comedy ladder, we pulled PointlessWasteofTime.com (online humor Mecca), right under the Cracked banner. We noticed the consistently funny content appearing on PWoT and decided that, like the majestic King Cobra snake, we would swallow the site whole, in an effort to gain its comedic powers. This move shows that we refuse to listen to the problems that we ourselves state below and that we know absolutely nothing about snakes.
In 1999, @Home Network purchased the hugely popular Excite.com, at the time ranked with Yahoo! and Netscape in terms of usage and general recognition. The $6.7 billion merger, combining @Home's high-speed Internet services and Excite's popular search engine, should have been huge enough for Excite@Home to eventually buy the entire Internet. Instead, stock value dropped 90 percent in about a year and, in about two, the company filed for bankruptcy.
The bad news for us is that we paid $1.3 billion for PWoT, which prompted some analysts to say we overpaid by more than $2 billion. The upside is we paid for the acquisition entirely in Cracked stock, which, if it exists, rests firmly in the "should have sold it 40 years ago" category.
Though, really, if you invested your actual money into a website that boasts no less than one forced Christian Bale reference a week, highly debatable lists about '80s television and more dick jokes than are allowed by SEC regulations, you kind of deserve to lose all of your life savings.
So, sure, we're fucked. But, we've been fucked before and we've always emerged to strive forward for some new adventure in fucking. But this time, we're fucked 2.0.