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Imgur has a community. Tons of users that goes directly there to see funny images and GIFs.

Yes, Google can create a infinite scalable image hosting overnight, but creating a community is a lot harder.

Imageshack was in the same position 5 years ago. And Photobucket 3 years before that. Image hosts go through a cycle of upending the tyrant and then becoming the villain.

Ugh. Don’t remind me. I used yfrog (Imageshack’s Twitter-friendly brand) for years, and now I have probably hundreds of old tweets with missing images.


does anyone remember pbase.com for free photo gallery hosting, in around 2002? apparently it still exists with its same basic but functional UI.

From their FAQ:

Is PBase free?


it used to be, a long time ago

Free ones at least.

Creating communities is hard, but Google wants a unified 'Google' community, not multiple disparate ones -- just look at how they handled YouTube.

Even if you throw in some machine learning to figure out if the user's looking at memes or gifs or porn, I can't imagine the marginal value of that data being of use to Google. It's essentially unmonetizable, which is why most image hosts disappear after a few years.

Imgur was successful in avoiding that fate by pivoting to a community, but that community would be of no use to someone like Google.

Especially as Imgur is already giving Google that information for free (from the Imgur source):

    <script type="text/javascript">
        __ga('send', 'pageview');

What makes you think this is free?

And why would Google purchase a forum site for sharing funny images and GIFs?

Why would they purchase a forum site for sharing funny cat videos?

A guess: (and note they kept youtube a wholly owned subsidiary I think) they desperately had to make sure the Viacom lawsuit defense was well funded and aggressively defended or it would severely damage Google's business.

Also, google has now had success building photo sites / photo products, but at the time of the youtube purchase, hadn't had much success building a video product.


Because it's a monopoly. Come back when Imgur becomes the only (or one of very few) place on the web to share funny images and Gifs. Farewell.

Are you trying to imply that Youtube is a monopoly? Aren't there others like vimeo, etc.? Besides, there is nothing from technology perspective to make it a monopoly. All you need is a server rack and a bunch of web developers who can build such a site, right?

Well, there's also massive scaling, which the average web developer isn't experienced with. Then there's creating a consistent experience across various devices and browsers.

So, sure, anyway halfway competent developer could bang out a YouTube (or Facebook, etc) prototype in a few weeks, but going from there to a reliable, usable service at scale is something else altogether.

You're going to need some project managers, SREs, sysadmins, front and back end web developers, programmers who know about video encoding, content experts, lawyers, etc...

Youtube is a monopoly in a way Google is a monopoly. Just like how there's Bing and DuckDuckGo but most people use Google, most people use Youtube although some do use sites like vimeo. If you think it's so easy to build a site that competes with Google or Youtube you should go ahead and build one and overtake them. After all, nowadays everything is open sourced, you can even build your own search engine from scratch overnight.

>Youtube is a monopoly in a way Google is a monopoly.

So not at all unless you change what having a monopoly is.

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