Humorix Stock Collapses

Fake News written by James Baughn on Monday, August 9, 1999

from the will-write-humor-for-food dept.

After a series of unfortunate events and just plain old bad luck, Humorix stock (Nasdaq: FAUX) has crashed to the sub-basement level of 1 1/8. Wall Street analysts are predicting that Humorix will drop even further; several brokerages have downgraded the stock from "STRONG BUY" to "WE GUARANTEE YOU'LL LOSE MONEY ON THIS STOCK".

The stock bloodbath comes on the heels of last Wednesday's astounding record high of 129 5/8. Investors entered a feeding frenzy when Humorix announced that the archive of old fake news articles would be slowly phased out to make room for more hype, more hyperbole, and more advertising. One columnist wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Humorix's plans to 'portalize' its website and remove unnecessary content that nobody reads anyways is a stroke of genius. Humorix can't possibly fail with that kind of brilliant planning."

While investors were enthusiastic about Humorix's plans, all three loyal readers certainly weren't. Flame email came pouring in all week. One enraged flamer wrote, "The only reason I visit Humorix is for the fake news articles. Without them, all you have is portal crap and promotional garbage."

Another loyal reader said, "Humorix sucks. Ever since the IPO announcement the site has gone downhill. Where's the Linux humor? All you ever publish are stories about Humorix's IPO, lame Microsoft bashing pieces, and idiotic Slashdot articles... And your writing style sucks, too. Every article contains ficticious comments from people that add nothing. Every article contains weak attempts at meta-humor. Every article contains some unnecessary jab at Microsoft. In short, Humorix sucks! I won't be coming back."

The threat of a 100% decline in visitors prompted Humorix to abandon the plan. The flame mail from readers ceased, but then thousands of investors started sending flame mail. "Humorix is no longer a portal now, huh? If I wanted to invest money in a company that has a wishy-washy business strategy that changes every day, I would've invested in Microsoft!" one former Humorix investor wrote. Another said, "Historically, websites that have actual content never fare well on the stock market. Repositioning Humorix as a Linux humor website instead of a Linux portal website is a foolish move. Humorix can't possibly succeed."

That investor was right. The next day, Friday, Humorix dropped 26% as people started to flee the sinking ship. Over the weekend, severe storms caused router malfunctions that left the Humorix website offline for 10 hours. Then the IRS accused Humorix of violating some obscure section of the tax code and announced that an audit would be conducted next month.

Adding insult to injury, MSNBC reported erroneously that applying ROT13 to the source code of the Humorix homepage revealed several Satanic messages. While the story was later retracted, the damage had already been done: during the first hour of trading on Monday the stock plummeted to 1 1/8 and remained there all day.

The abrupt collapse of the stock has led Humorix employees to reconsider their retirement plans. Jon Splatz jumped out of a tenth story window after hearing about the crash. "First I was rejected by E*Trade for the Red Hat IPO, and now my millions of dollars worth of Humorix stock options have evaporated! I can't take it anymore..." Splatz yelled as he jumped. He landed safely on a ledge located just two feet below the window.

James Baughn said, "It looks like I'll have to get a day job now."

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