Fark is one of the most popular blogs that links to stories, but
competitor (see comments) Jason Calacanis tells Wired News that the site asked him for money in exchange for highly placed links to his sites. Calacanis says a Fark salesman, Gogi Gupta, told him "We don't hold ourselves to the same standards as (The New York Times), and I would urge you not to either." Calacanis, the founder and editor of the late Silicon Alley Reporter in New York and Digital Coast Reporter here, posts at his blog:
After trying to figure out a deal they told me that I could just buy the editorial. The cost? Like $300 to $400 for a story.
I was shocked…. all this time I’ve been reading Fark.com it turns out that some percentage of the stories are paid for. Looking back on it I’m now sure the adult links are all paid for, as are the ifilm.com links.
I feel like I can never trust Fark again.
The stupid part about all this is that Fark.com could easily just put “Advertisement” by the stories and their readers would click them 2x as much just to support Fark. It is so dumb.
Say it ain’t so Drew! Clean up Fark, I want to love it… really I do.
Fark's publisher, Drew Curtis, says the salesman was fired, but declined to clear up his policies. Says Wired: "Curtis refused to deny that Fark accepts payment for placement of links. He did not respond to requests for clarification from Wired News."
* Fark is not a blog: Sean Bonner explains it well.
** Fark responds: "If the same material -- e.g. clip, news story -- is available in several locations, we may enter into a commercial agreement to prefer one host site over the another. We will also link stuff that I just happen to like..." Curtis says he is working on a disclosure page to clarify the policy, and adds: "We apologize for not being clearer about what we do and don't do."