Dark Roasted Blend: Serving Up A Surreal, High Quality Cup o' Joe
You may be familiar with Dark Roasted Blend already, but if not...you should be. Where else can you learn about "Unique Pigeon Towers of Iran," "The Most Alien-looking Place on Earth," "Some of the World's Strangest Fences," or "Monowheels: The Weirdest Transport Known to Man"? To mention just a few recent entries.
Dark Roasted Blend was founded by Avi Abrams with his wife Rachel in 2006. Since then, it's become one of the most popular blogs of its type on the internet. I interviewed Avi Abrams via email recently, to find out more about this intriguing site...
Amazon.com: Why and how did you start Dark Roasted Blend?
Avi Abrams: It all stemmed from my love for science fiction, and the need to share the reading discoveries. I launched "Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Experience" and started to write reviews for the books and stories that I've read in the past 25 years (which is more than 5,000 books, by the way). The tag line under that was "A Thrilling Wonder Publication", as a homage to the awesome pulp magazine of the 1940s "Thrilling Wonder Stories". Pulp science fiction back then was short, sweet, very colorful and full of amazing discoveries, so I tried to convey that "sense of wonder" in my book reviews, and later in my weekly reviews of discoveries around the internet.
Originally the site had a "thrillingwonder.blogspot.com" address, but then my wife and I combined the idea of short/sweet web reviews with our love of coffee--and "Dark Roasted Blend" was born on October 25, 2006. (read the first issue here). Since that time we've been growing by leaps and bounds, mostly due to our unique combination of highly-visual, often tongue-in-cheek content. We give a short portion of awesome every day, which is easy to consume during the morning cup of coffee.
Amazon.com: How is the blog/site different now than when you started?
Avi Abrams: Interestingly, "Dark Roasted Blend" name was originally intended for our internet mp3 radio project (we love rare Merseybeat, epic Euro soundtracks and baroque psychedelic groups). This never got off the ground, but I still have a dream to combine visual and music awesomeness together in some way - maybe one day. So at first DRB was mostly our original composed music (listen to some here) plus a lot of sci-fi reviews. Then our "Most Dangerous Roads of the World" took off, we were featured on USA Today and the rest is history.
Amazon.com: Did you ever expect it to be this popular?
Avi Abrams: No we did not... but soon it grew into a full-time job and needed to be popular enough to support the family. I never hugely promoted the site though, and let the content (which my inner hamster religiously wrote every day) speak for itself. One secret to our popularity lies in international exposure to social sites in Japan, Spain and Russia, where web-denizens seem to have more "sense of wonder" than rather cynical Western audience.
Amazon.com: What's your guiding principle for what you decide to highlight on the site?
Avi Abrams: It has to be either maddeningly fascinating, or insanely funny. In general we're trying to create the most high-quality content internet has ever seen. Every article has to be perfect and every link should be wholesome and entertaining. We stay away from low-brow humor, celebrities, dark horror, creating 100 percent safe-for-work fantastic environment, where you can not predict what we'll feature next. Like one reader said, "Dark Roasted Blend... has an annoying habit of catching fads before they're actually fads." We do not necessarily want to create fads, but we do want to point out amazing things to people that they did not notice before.
Amazon.com: What do you like the most about doing Dark Roasted Blend?
Avi Abrams: Curiosity killed the cat... but it keeps DRB going. Basically I am mesmerized by everything "weird & wonderful" in our world and beyond, and will happily write about it, as long as it does not take away from my wonderful family and my first love of reading great science fiction. If DRB has become your daily source of inspiration, then our goal is fulfilled.