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Cracked is an award-winning entertainment and humor website founded by Jack O’Brien in 2005. It is currently the most visited humor website in the world, with over 300 million page views every month.
Cracked was started as a humor magazine in 1958 and was known for its conspicious copying of Mad in layouts and style. In early 2005, editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien founded the website Cracked.com as a separate website. Though the magazine discontinued soon after, the website was purchased by Demand Media in 2007, and rapid growth followed.
In 2007, Cracked reported a few hundred thousand users per month and 3 to 4 million page views. Cracked’s 2,000 to 3,000 word articles, which are published daily, usually are read by over one million users on the day of the upload.
In 2010, Cracked released an iPad application, which allows users access to mobile browsing of Cracked’s articles, videos, and contests. The site’s traffic has doubled each year, and it has become one of Demand Media’s most successful properties. In 2010, Cracked reported over 1 billion page views. As of 2012, Cracked receives over 300 million monthly page views, making it the most popular humor site in the world, ahead of The Onion, CollegeHumor, and Funny or Die.
Cracked features a blog, videos, forums, a writer’s workshop, four weekly Image Manipulation contests called Photoplasty, and small, one-shot articles called “Quick Fixes.”
Roughly 30% of Cracked’s content is video. As of 2012, Cracked has 10 web series that are exclusive to the site. They debuted the web series “Agents of Cracked” in 2009, and it generated 20 million views over three seasons. In July 2010, Cracked debuted “After Hours,” a video-debate version of Cracked’s lists. The show has generated over 15 million views. Other shows include “Stuff That Must Have Happened” and “The Katie Willert Experience”.
Cracked, along with Rotten Tomatoes and Movieclips, launched Cheat Sheets in 2011, a comedic, user-generated guide to popular movies.
In 2010, Cracked released its first book, entitled You Might Be A Zombie And Other Bad News. The book features 20 articles previously published on the website, and 18 new ones made for the book.
The book reached #9 on The New York Times’ “Paperback Advice and Misc.” best sellers list, and has sold over 40,000 copies.
Cracked has expanded into live shows. At the 2011 SXSW festival, Cracked hosted Cracked Live, which featured live performances from notable Cracked staff members. In November 2011, Cracked hosted three panels at Comikaze Expo, a multi-media popular culture convention.
Cracked has been generally well-received on the Internet. Wired Magazine called the site “addictive,” “hauntingly funny” and “terrifyingly well-informed.” In 2010, Cracked won the Audience Choice Award at the second annual Streamy Awards. In 2012, Cracked received a People’s Choice Webby Award for best humor website.