Imgur is at a tipping point.
What began as a photo storage site for Reddit users has grown, in just five years, into a thriving community with almost twice as much traffic as its de facto parent site, raking in five billion pageviews a month.
But in tech, a proven model with great results isn’t always enough. The site debuted a redesign this morning. They’re also planning a slew of in-person events and a convention, all thanks to a recent injection of $40 million in VC funding. It’s clear that Imgur is striving to become a social media staple on the level of Instagram or Twitter.
Party Party Party
One of tech’s most prolific venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz (or “A16Z”), has invested a sizable $40 million in image sharing giant Imgur, Betabeat has learned.
Imgur has been the subject of acquisition rumors for the past year, but has never taken outside money, regardless of how successful they’ve been. According to Imgur CEO and founder Alan Schaaf, Imgur has been approached by almost every VC on the map in the past five years.
“We’ve always been fighting them off,” Mr. Schaaf told Betabeat, “and the reason is because we never really found a good fit.”
In case you’ve never searched for “Benedict Cumberbatch with dragon body” or “adorable puppy kissing adorable baby,” Imgur is an online image host where users share, vote for and comment on their favorite images — often resulting in those images going viral. It was founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009, making the site five years old this year.
Release the Memes
It might not happen immediately, but it’s all but certain Netflix is going to jack up its prices. “It’s not clear that one price fits all,” said CEO Reed Hastings. [Bloomberg]
Nerd fight! Facebook is debunking that Princeton University study that it’s going to lose 80 percent of its users in the next few years. A researcher wrote it’s “utter nonsense.” [TechCrunch]
Rap Genius has come to a licensing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group to keep annotating their songs. [The 405]
Twitter has expanded analytics to its “Cards” feature. [Recode]
Here’s how Imgur became Reddit’s go-to image sharing service for pictures of dogs in fedoras. [Businessweek]
ALL YOUR MEME ARE BELONG TO US
Never let it be said you can’t build a business on viral images that’d make a Sunday school teacher’s eyes bleed. Today Imgur, the image-sharing site long considered the Gary Walsh to Reddit’s Selina Meyer, announced that it’s hit 100 million monthly unique users, landing the site at number 28 on Alexa.com’s ranking of top sites.
In a chat with Betabeat, the company’s leaders, CEO Alan Schaaf and COO Matt Strader, were careful to underline diplomatically all the ways Imgur has expanded beyond its role as the cobbled-together infrastructure of Reddit.
If 90 percent of the links on your Reddit front page don’t already direct to the photo hosting site Imgur, then they soon will. The company announced today that it is releasing its very own meme generator to fill the gaping hole of no doubt riveting, thoughtful content left on Reddit when Quickmeme Read More
It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It
Just in case Reddit’s sense of self-importance wasn’t inflated enough, the online community has taken to playing FBI dress-up, creating a subreddit called /r/findbostonbombers that’s “dedicated to helping find the bomber(s)” behind Monday’s tragedy. Since it started late last night, the subreddit has already become a repository for out-there conspiracy theories and Imgur-hosted “photo dumps” that scrupulously analyze every “clue” bored Redditors can find. (Look, this guy’s going through a bag!)
Dear oh dear, my oh my, look what TMZ managed to snatch: A shirtless picture of one Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. We would not have predicted such grizzly-like resplendence from the Zuck.
TMZ says the pic popped up on imgur, along with an explanation of how it was acquired: