Automatic Media Shuts Down

Automatic Media Inc., which publishes pioneer Internet sites Suck and Feed, along with upstart Plastic, said Friday it has shut down because of insufficient funds.

The closely held New York company announced the closure in a short message on its Web site.

Feed and Suck, which both were started in 1995, joined forces last July, becoming Automatic Media’s anchor properties. In January, the company launched Plastic, a news-filter service and community site devoted to pop culture.

Joey Anuff, Plastic’s editor-in-chief and the founder of Suck, said “less than 20 people” were laid off as a result of the closing, and Automatic Media is in negotiations to find “new homes” for its properties.

Feed, Suck and Plastic all posted messages to readers on their sites. “While we still very much believe that content on the web can support itself, Automatic Media is not able to succor us until we see that day,” said Feed co-founders Stefanie Syman and Steven Johnson in their letter.

“As of today, we are in suspended animation, cooled to a temperature at which our metabolic rate is near zero. We’ll be posting some reruns this summer and looking for a new home.”

Suck will also stay online, but with “selected … classics,” according to the note on its site.

Mr. Anuff said he and Managing Editor Tom Dowe will continue to operate Plastic on a volunteer basis, with help from the site’s top 10 users. These users have access to edit content, which consists largely of stories suggested and then discussed by visitors to the site, which has more than 15,000 registered members, Mr. Anuff said.

Automatic Media is backed by Advance Publications, Terra Lycos Inc., Terra Lycos Ventures, and Paladin UK.