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Are you stuck on what your next story should be about? Want to find something really juicy and controversial to submit to your editor? Well, close your office or bedroom door and surf on over to Fu*ckedCompany.com – http://www.fuckedcompany.com (FC).
I spoke with Philip Kaplan, 26, founder of FC last week. And, while his story is inspirational and profitable, to say the least, you’ll also find that his site is a treasure chest of rumors on just about every company that is in financial trouble.
Philip started the site about 18 months ago as a joke and still runs it out of his apartment in New York City. Kaplan said, “I saw the ridiculous trend of dot coms getting funded with no chance of making any money.” It was obvious to Kaplan that these sites would crash and burn, hard and fast.
Kaplan’s “joke” now serves 75,000 newsletter readers, and 4 million unique website visitors every month. Thus, Kaplan has turned other firms’ stupidity into his tremendous profits.
Once you surf to FC, you’ll be surprised and often shocked at what you read. But, hey, jilted employees don’t hold anything back. Where else can you find the actual letter that Nortel Networks sent via Fedex to their ex-employees last month? McGraw Hill, of great interest to many authors, may lay off 1,000 employees by the end of the month. Do their authors know this yet? Click on the Happy Fun Slander link and prepare to spend many hours surfing through the reports and subsequent comments.
If you’re as nosy as I am (aren’t all journalists nosy?), you’ll have a wonderful afternoon of fun, making a list of queries you can send out today! But, how can this site really help journalists and freelance writers?
Well, first you need to know that what is free on the site is already considered “dated” as far as news goes, even if it’s only 24 hours old. If you want to get the scoop on all the rumors that Philip hasn’t even been able to read yet, just sign up for their premium service for only $75/month (okay, not too cheap, but just landing one assignment from the gossip will pay for your monthly subscription).
The site says: You’ll have unfiltered access to search EVERY TIP that is received by FC. No other site or news outlet can offer anything close to this. FC generally receives over 400 tips each day…
Kaplan adds, “A lot of the of people who subscribe are journalists. Everything starts out as a rumor before it is news. Journalists go in and try to get the news out of it. They take it upon themselves to make it interesting. In the past year, hundreds of published news stories have started with ‘as first reported by Fu*kedCompany.com.'”
Some of the things posted on FC are already posted to news sites online. In those instances, Kaplan provides a link to the existing news story.
There’s another benefit for writers here as well! If you want to warn other writers about a slow-paying/no-paying publication, you’re welcome to post your warnings to FC.
What, you might ask, is Kaplan’s legal liability should somebody submit a lie? His editorial policy is to remove offensive postings if an employee is the object of the posting. Kaplan said, “The site is for the employees. I don’t want any employees hurt.”
He adds, “Nobody really knows who’s legally liable for the information posted. (I get) 50,000 posts a day. I can’t read all of them.”
However, many offensive posts can also be true. “I’ve received a lot of cease and desist letters. But, if the post was against the company and contained truthful things, the post remains. That’s the service I provide. I’ve never been sued. If I ever am, a judge will decide. The judges have been ruling in favor of website owners in cases concerning postings by individuals. Sometimes the people who post are liable. Sometimes nobody is liable. The companies I write about are so screwed up anyway that writing about them isn’t going to harm them anymore than they’ve already harmed themselves.”
Kaplan’s profits at FC are generated by his subscription-based service and advertising income. But, he doesn’t stop there. His new book, F’d Companies: Spectacular Dot Com Flameouts, is due for release on April 1st (no foolin’!) from Simon and Schuster. “It’s the Hall of Fame regarding stupid things companies did or stupid things they did with their money. He also calls it the “Encyclopedia of What Not to Do in Business.” You can pre-order it on Amazon right now (and get 30% off).
Do you think that’s all? No, not quite. Philip Kaplan is a tireless entrepreneur! Have you been wondering how your book really ranks on Amazon? Well, don’t miss Kaplan’s new site, AmazonScan.com.
Enter any book, DVD or other product that Amazon sells and the site updates the ranking hourly. He’s also developing an algorithm that will estimate how many books you’ve sold. Kaplan’s revenue from this venture is currently based just on Amazon affiliate sales. Register while you’re there so you can be notified when the algorithm goes live.
I used AmazonScan.com to track my books. To track your own book, click on http://www.AmazonScan.com. Click on Track a New Item. Now, find your book’s link on Amazon and enter it there. It’s self-explanatory after that.
Rumor has it that FC is for sale. “Everything’s for sale,” joked Kaplan. If he sells FC, he’ll likely be able to take a few years off. But, don’t count on that happening. On a whim, his superb business ideas instantly become real. And it doesn’t look like Philip Kaplan will run out of profitable “jokes” anytime soon.
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the FREE marketing emag for writers and journalists serving 62,000 every Wednesday. To subscribe and receive new job listings and paying markets weekly, see: http://www.writersweekly.com