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The inspiration for Suck ( came to Carl Steadman and Joey Anuff in the bowels of HotWired. While everyone else was promoting the Good Word of the Internet, the Sucksters decided a little fire and brimstone might be more effective.

And so began the Suck hallmark, an online essay a day on topics that range from the business practices of America Online to the dangerously enthusiastic celebrity worship of the Internet. A daily dose of Suck became required reading for many.

At first they worked by day at HotWired and at night on Suck, publishing the zine anonymously. Even their bosses didn't know. Now it takes eight employees and the financial blessing of Wired Ventures to, well, Suck.

But don't take these guys for serious journalists.

"If we were journalists, we would put different demands on ourselves," Mr. Steadman said.

Well-known throughout the Web for the zine's bile and humor, the Sucksters nevertheless insist the site's most important goal is to provide serious criticism about the Internet and digital culture.

A complete overhaul earlier this year brought several new features to Suck, including advertising.

Now that the site is humming along, the pair have surrendered much of the control. Both are working on book proposals, and Mr. Steadman is also nurturing a new cultural critic site called Placing (

Betcha didn't know: As an undergraduate, Mr. Steadman studied hypertext as a narrative style before it became famous as the language of the Web. Those who detect a certain vitriolic style to some of Suck's columns might give a nod to "Ed Anger," a columnist for the Weekly World News and Mr. Anuff's favorite author as a child.

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