Top 10 April Fools' Day joke Web sites

From camouflaged deer to animated tattoos, these classic pranks give us a break during our busy workdays and make us smile

What is it about April Fools' Day jokes that we love so much? Perhaps it's that, in the midst of the crushing influx of information that many of us cope with daily, a well-constructed prank provides a welcome break. For a moment, we smile, even when the joke is a tried-and-true chestnut.

Google has a strong tradition of sublime hilarity each April 1. Last year, the company announced two faux products designed to elicit a chuckle from unsuspecting (and suspecting) readers: Gmail Paper (6GB of messages, rendered as hard copy) and Google TiSP, a plumbing-based Internet Service Provider dedicated to harnessing the underutilized potential of the nation's "dark porcelain." (See writer Tom Spring's complete slideshow for a retrospective of Google's April Fool's and other fun inventions over the years.)

In recent times, many other sites have pulled our collective leg with April Fools pages marked by realistic graphics and ridiculous but deadpan copy. Here are ten of our favorites. Just click the linked header for each entry to see the prank (or its fallout) come to life.

10. Facebook Funnies

Last year, Facebook users noticed some unusual entries scattered among News Feed updates, including the announcement of a new LivePoke feature, in which invited users to dispatch a real live person to physically poke their Facebook friends (offer limited to first 100 members of a network). Another entry reported that Harry Potter and Voldemort (more of a MySpace kind of guy anyway) had returned to their former relationship status as mortal enemies. Good work, guys, and better luck next year on moving up our list.

9. Dead Fairy on eBay

In late March 2007, Dan Baines posted a Web page describing (and illustrating with detailed photos) the discovery of what appeared to be the remains of a "real" fairy. Baines claimed that the mummified fairy corpse was recovered along an old Roman road in Derbyshire, England, by a dog-walker who preferred to remain anonymous. The bones of its diminutive, human-like skeleton were hollow, like a bird's, making it "particularly light," an anatomical peculiarity whose contribution to airworthiness was enhanced by the body's extremely leaflike--uh, lifelike--wings.

Over the next several days Baines, a magician and prop-maker, received hundreds of messages from credulous and (and in some instances worried) fairy-loving readers. To put their minds at ease, he revealed the hoax. Eventually Baines sold his creation on eBay for £280.

8. PodShave and PodShaveLady

Sometimes, a prank's premise is so plausible that you have to ask yourself: "Why isn't there a product like that?" When iLounge posted breaking news of a new video-playing iPod V from Apple on March 31, 2004, no one took the bait. The real video iPod, which was just around the corner, made too much sense for the iPod V prank to be funny.

But wags at the now-defunct PodGear.net had more success with their electric-razor attachments for iPod Classic or Mini. Several Apple news sites posted tongue-in-cheek reviews of these ersatz iPod accessories, leaving many wondering, "Does my back hair need grooming--and can I dance to it?"

7. Wikipedia Brittanica

If we can believe Wikipedia's own Wiki page on the subject (at first unqualified, but subsequently clearly labeled as a joke), the popular user-created reference site was nearly absorbed by venerable dead-tree competitor Encyclopedia Britannica on April 1, 2005. Despite the promise of handsome severance packages for the founders of what was slated to become known as Wikimedia, the deal likely fell through--perhaps due to the onerous financial burden it would have placed on contributors to the newly merged publications. Though future costs were estimated at an astronomical £99.97 for each page creation or edit, the new Wikipedia promised to offset them by offering contributors a chance to win a rare photo of Margaret Thatcher from her days on the burlesque circuit.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Spanbauer

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?