About Us


Not Fooling Anybody is an internet web site established from in 2004. The site’s travelogue through urban, rural, and in-between America touched on some on the fabric of our visual and commercial culture: shapes we’ve been used to seeing our whole lives, remixed by entrepreneurs ranging from lazy to ingenious. The site was delightfully received, gathering a following of industrious photo-submitting rangers, a flurry of traffic, and even hate mail.

Fast forward a few years and the NFA fields fell fallow. Even by 2007 it was clear that maintaining the hand-coded nature of the website had become more laborious to produce than it should have been. A new plan was needed. Instead, life-disrupting events like deaths in the family, an international move, and even Russian hackers all befell the site and those behind it. Around 2008, these pages went dark.

In the meantime, a legacy folks have kept of the Good Work of bad-conversion-spotting and these people deserve mention:

Used to Be Pizza Hut — we admire your focus!

Not Fooling Anybody Subreddit — borrowed our logo and name in the site’s absence, but is a separate project! A fun place for people to submit images to one another if for some reason they don’t want to submit them here.

The Used to Be A archive on arch-ive by Lauren Meyers

A good piece on Re-Inhabited Circle Ks

Barnbuster — All things Red Barn and former Red Barn

Jeff Chapman’s fantastic Cloney Time pages.

Abandoned industrial parks, Pizza Huts, more, at Dairy River.

The -berto’s Phenomenon unpacked over at Deuce of Clubs.

Also, if you’re still reading this, you should probably buy this fantastic painting by Derek Erdman.

The site is back up now, with all 113 original “classic” entries as well as a daily growing number of new additions. Since the original publication of these pages, many of the businesses featured have closed, converted again, or possibly even disappeared—but I have kept them for posterity. We welcome updates and comments on these old nuggets, but if you went out of your way looking to get a spinal adjustment in a chicken place and it was no longer there, that’s on you.

A number of thank-yous are in order for those who waited patiently for this website to get its feet back on the ground, but are due most of all to Seth Madej, a very nice person who offered, more than once, to risk life and limb wrestling stylesheets to the ground to help reestablish, and regrow, this collection. Seth is a working funny-person in Los Angeles and you should totally check him out.

Thanks as well to Andy Lester for his preliminary help setting up the new site, and for pointing out that one Dairy Queen that used to be a Burger King in like 1991.

Thanks for visiting…let’s not make it so long next time, okay?
Liz Clayton