The bit of community that exists solely within imgur can't be enough to subsidize the bandwidth costs of everyone else, can it?
Thus far every image hosting site has gone the cycle of initially good, annoying attempts at monetizing, then shutting down. Which, of course, leaves a trail of forum posts, comments, etc, with broken images and links.
I wish some entity with deep pockets would just offer it as a public service / loss leader so we could stop the cycle. Google, Amazon, etc.
I get that I come off as a total asshole - "why don't they hate the world, as I do?!" But honestly, they seem like the most gullible bunch of back-patters on the internet.
The culture is…hard to understand if you’re not a part of it, which I think is probably true of any sizable social site. And different users probably have different attitudes about it.
Yeah, there’s a lot of memetic trash, because the culture definitely rewards repetition, and I guess the only unifying factor of everyone on Imgur is that we like to look at pictures. But that’s also an advantage in that the community seems to be more diverse than on any given subreddit, or even HN. (Although it definitely skews young, male, white, and progressive.)
It’s kind of nice to be part of a community that’s unabashedly earnest, even if it means getting taken for a ride sometimes. I don’t think there’s no self-awareness, it just doesn’t seem like it from the outside.
For example, take Lassannn. He’s a user who makes up stories for points, and is completely honest about that fact. Some people hate him for that, believing that if you’re posting a story in the first person, it ought to be true. So they started saying “Fuck you, Lassannn” on all of his posts. But now there’s also a sizable cohort of people who love him because he’s a good guy and produces good content, so they post “Fuck you, Lassannn” ironically to make fun of the people who actually hate him. And crucially, you can’t tell the difference if you aren’t aware of the whole story, which has taken place over years. And there are countless stories like this.
For me, Imgur has all those aspects that I loved while growing up on forums in the early 2000s. It also rewards clever puns, remixing, ironic shitposting, even intelligent discussion if you look for it. I’ve learned countless things from people with completely different backgrounds, been exposed to world news I would never have seen otherwise, and been able to reach loads of people with my bad jokes, shitposts, and encyclopedic knowledge of linguistics and trivia. It’s fun, and that’s all that matters.
Imgur and the like are just recreating the "hanging around" concept, online, within a certain community. It's not rocket science.
Usually rants once a week about not needing more than vi
Not even vim, but vi
Perl is the only language the world needs
He is very serious about these things. Shuts PR's that challenge his world view in anyway
He's barely 40
Little sympathy for him and his back problems lately. It means he's working at home and not around the rest of us.
objectively, and putting aside the kneejerk reaction against being fooled, i cannot see a single thing wrong with this. no one is asking for money or trying to con the audience out of anything tangible; either they're telling the truth about the cancer (in which case they'll be happy for the upvotes) or they're trying to game the imgur community for upvotes (in which case they'll be happy for the upvotes). you might argue that that's cheapening the upvote, but the sole value of an upvote is what you, personally assign to it. you want upvotes that are worth something to you, post in a community where they are rare enough for you to feel they are worth something.
as for the rest of it, if the backpatting keeps them happy, what's wrong with it? it seems infinitely better than e.g. the cringe-oriented communities who get their social bonding and dopamine hits from making fun of the more earnest sections of the internet.
i hate to use the term 'normies', but...
They were fine before that. They were making enough money to stay afloat, but the founder wanted to expand. So he took VC money... and then the VCs began making demands of him. And then Imgur started sucking.
I remember one of the first changes that the VCs forced on them: Imgur debuted a new API, and if you want to access albums through the API, you have to pay a huge amount of money. There were some allowances for small, limited usage for free, but any app published on a major app store would blow past that limit easily. The cost might be fine for a big company, but it screws over one-man operations like...well, like most Reddit apps. The developer of Sync got hit pretty hard by it.
"Imgur was created as a response to the usability problems encountered in similar services. Designed to be a gift to the online community of Reddit, it took off almost instantly, jumping from a thousand hits per day to a million total page views in the first five months."
I cant stand the new i.reddit img service, but that could be me just being an off-my-lawn-er...
but I am wary of reddits motivations, as I dont trust the admins all that much given the fact that they are a huge social manipulation tool - and if you don't toe the corporate line in the US, they shut you down.
Other imaging hosts that serve up .mp4's as substitutes for .gif like giphy work just fine. It's just Imgur that couldn't figure out how to make this work properly.
It also keeps that data in house which they can sell (if they need to) rather than give all that data away to imgur for free. Though I wonder if the bandwidth costs will break even.
They can also use it in order to craft personalised suggestions.
Doesn't work because the usual deep-pocket entities are trying to stay as far away from "nasty" stuff as possible... with "nasty" ranging from harmless stuff like nipples over porn to straight out gore (like Liveleak).
There are always some puritan but loud "activist parents" trying to f..k up stuff for everyone else.
That's a feature, but it's not a feature most conglomerates want to provide.
And that Amazon and GCP analyze customer info (off the disks? off unencrypted HTTP?)?
They do some types of automatic analysis/processing which you can see when the Google Photos app delivers an automatically composed album, panorama, or movie to you, and you can also go into Google Photos and sort your photos by the objects and/or people that Google recognizes within them.
They do this for all speech-to-text run through official Android/Google search applications. You can go to a Voice History page within your Google Account and download recordings of every "OK Google" you've performed, and I've heard that they have human transcribers who spend all day listening to random voice searches and transcribing them to provide the corpus to compare against the computerized transcription.
As for EC2/GCP, I am sure they analyze whatever data they can. I doubt they go into the disks, but they would necessarily see the endpoints of the conversations, the volume of the average transmission, and other such details. The datacenter has a lot of knowledge from metadata without having to actually introspect the bits that you're sending over the pipe or storing on disk.
Disclaimer: I am not involved with Amazon or Google in any direct way and this is mostly hearsay.
EDIT: On re-reading, I realize that I flubbed in the original post (now past its edit expiration). I was in a hurry and didn't realize how flippantly my statement came off.
I don't mean to imply that Amazon/Google casually spy on the information of specific users for competitive intelligence, just that interesting metadata is available to the platform host without requiring them to look at anything that they wouldn't normally have access to, and that they already have a vast abundance of the types of images that people are uploading to public hosts like imgur.
They're already using metadata from users devices to supply traffic map data. Thought that was way cool, then discovered how it worked; Google Maps app actively reports your location behind the scenes.
Was creeped out, but I still use it all the time, despite never remembering giving explicit consent.
Be trivial for them to scrape EXIF data but not actually "peak" into the image data
I remember this from long long ago, when I was a student and helped running a vBulletin on the side for fun. When I noticed this trend while browsing older posts that had the a lot of imageshack embeds (they apparently deleted old files which weren't accessed that often, also the url format might have changed once) I cobbled together a plugin that would save all posted images locally and then serve those instead. This lead to some protest however by people who had those fancy dynamic images in their signature that would show the currently playing song or similar, so those had to be excluded...
They would lose a lot of eyeballs if a new, non-annoying imgur like service popped up. Similar to how they initially killed off some existing image hosts.
I'm not clear on the specifics of their inventory, but some of their placements are available on the Google Display Network, and presumably exchanges as well. So I'm not sure if the inventory with the $20k min. buy overlaps at all with that to reach this sort of conclusion.
Did you just send a link for "C:\documents\public_html\picture.jpg" (or /home/ryan/public_html) and somehow it worked? I'm in need of a history lesson because I cannot fathom how that would have worked.
No, they go with 3rd parties nowadays because most home users don't have bandwidth to host their own images.
One of the current top posts on reddit/r/funny has had over 1 million views after being posted to imgur 8 hours ago. The image file is 1.7 megabytes. That means imgur has transferred 1.7 TERAbytes in 8 hours of just that one image. That's an average of about 59 megabytes PER SECOND of bandwidth, or nearly half a gigabit per second.
Less than 1% of home users have that kind of bandwidth, and that's only to host a single image.
If you REALLY think "Oh, people only use image hosts because of the interface", you're not living in reality.
For example, I went to UTD from 2003 to 2007. This was long after the days of "the bulk of Internet users were on university networks" were over, but the infrastructure was still there. All students had ssh access to a handful of machines, the main one being apache.utdallas.edu.
So I could do this:
$ scp picture.jpg email@example.com:./public_html
Edit: And even if you weren't at a university, back in the dialup days it used to be that even with home internet, everyone's computer was directly on the Internet with no NAT or any kind of firewall, so you could just install Apache on your box and serve what you wanted. On paper, most ISPs banned that practice in their TOS, but it was never enforced. The real impediments were that a) dialup connections would usually disconnect if you went idle too long and b) most people had dynamic IP addresses that changed every time you dialed in (for the latter, DynDNS was a godsend). And of course dialup bandwidth was shit, so hosting anything substantial (especially an image!) would slow down your connection (seriously, people would actually buy second phone lines from their telcos and maybe even get a second account with their ISP so as not to tie up their main connection).
Broadband made it easier: even with a NAT router, you could just forward port 80 to your desktop, and you won't have to worry about bandwidth, your connection would stay up 24/7, and even if your IP was technically considered dynamic it would almost never change. What really sunk the concept of hosting your own was a) mobile (good luck running Apache on your phone, and getting port forwarding on a mobile network is impossible) and b) the rise of services like Imgur that let you host shit with no hassle (Facebook killed self-hosted personal home pages for the same reason).
It is massively convenient to run your own server. But you need to know how to maintain it (or be willing to learn). It isn't that hard, depending on what you're doing, but there's some effort and learning if you don't do this for a living.
Well worth it, at least for me.
Remember commercial shell accounts?
In the unix world, iirc, many systems were configured to expose a folder on the user's home directory (www). Which would expose that to something like: www.mit.edu/~<username>
 https://m.imgur.com/r/bicycling/b1ImCo8 with 770000 views
If we want to keep nice things, we need to make an ecosystem where we can pay small amounts for useful things.
I don't have a solution to the problem other than big pocket provider offers it as a public service. Somewhat like Let's Encrypt, or Cloudflare.
Edit: I suppose somebody could make a slick interface that uses parasite type storage and redirects...stealing storage from various free services like Google Drive. Offer some kind of karma points for creating and donating new Google Drive, OneDrive, etc, credentials. Would likely get shut down though.
Just have people opt in for NSFW content on their accounts. Leave them opted out by default (or public).
There is no reason it shouldn't be a human controlled flag.
They even do it with albums, which is unbelievably annoying on mobile devices. If you don't click the "Load X remaining images", and just keep scrolling, instead you see related images from other posts.
More than once, I've clicked through a link, gotten confused why the fourth or fifth image doesn't quite seem to match the original description, and then realized that I never loaded the full album.
I don't know who made that UI decision, or why. I can't think of a single good reason for it, because it doesn't even incentivize you to click through images to see other albums.
They probably intentionally break the site for anyone who doesn't want their script payload.
I doubt they can make any money without it anyway.
Sure, there's some complexity in doing it at scale, but it doesn't actually need to be done at scale to be done easily. 50 different small image hosts is as good as one big one from the perspective of end users.
As a result, it's /really/ hard to get people to pay for it, and you cause exoduses by trying to embed advertising. The only thing you can do is grasp for features to validate your business.
Anyway, Reddit gets paid via ads and gold, so people are paying for it. They just won't pay for it on it's own, because image hosting on it's own is not really worth much. You could make your own perfectly adequate image host on a raspberry pi. Reddit's value is not in it's image hosting. Nor is Wikipedias or 4chans.
Imgur picked a shit business model, the internet will survive their inevitable passing.
Think of it as analogous to sanitation. Being in the garbage hauling business isn't something that really revs that many people up, but civilization literally depends on it.
It didn't last forever, but Imgur was great for a long time.
Worse, it just doesn't do this, it purposely collapses galleries that before would auto-expand, so its easy to miss the expand button and keep scrolling onto other galleries and pics.
It's kinda a good system really: investors pay to host our images. So the money is here. The service is here.
Free hosting for your pictures for 1 or 2 years paid by VC is a cool with me.
If you click it, not only is your image now public but you'll be ridiculed by imgurs army of sexist unemployed neckbeards that they refer to as "community".
What's interesting is that Imgur managed to pivot into a full-blown community site, with threads, communities and voting. I don't think they're very dependent on Reddit anymore. From a few cursory glances, they have a relatively large amount of participation, and it's not unusual that an image shared on Reddit has a huge comment section on Imgur, with Imgur users not getting the context (that of course is over on Reddit).
Reddit is doing a smart thing here by hosting the images themselves. They're now at a scale where hosting images is feasible. Being dependent of Imgur (and Imgur not being dependent of Reddit) is a bad thing for Reddit, since most of the popular content on Reddit is images, and so Reddit gives away a huge amount of traffic to Imgur (which is basically a Reddit competitor now), trading that for the expenses of running an image hosting site. I guess Reddit realized it wasn't worth it.
Essentially in this network instead using addressing to address hosts, they address the data. This brings interesting properties, since routers are aware what data is being transferred they can start caching it.
In the end no CDNs are needed (network takes care of it) so people can host data themselves without worrying of it getting too popular.
Also doesn't that mean everyone in between know you're requesting degeneration.jpg? Vs now where they'd only know the domain and maybe could do transfer size analysis? Sort of the opposite direction of TLS everywhere (CloudFlare exempted)?
Also how do you bootstrap it? If I upload some image and it's instantly popular on reddit and generating many Mbps of traffic, don't I have to stick around long enough to get it up and cached? Or would there be free seed services that will get the first several GB out?
Normally that would benefit ISPs (they do have a network of routers so it would naturally help them, since they would not need to send the same thing over and over again, they do pay for traffic to their uplinks).
But, on the other hand ISPs artificially reduce their bandwidth and expect companies like Netflix to pay and do peering with them. Well, this won't help against it, but while it can replace TCP/IP it can also work as an overlay network and you can skip the ISP.
> Also doesn't that mean everyone in between know you're requesting degeneration.jpg? Vs now where they'd only know the domain and maybe could do transfer size analysis? Sort of the opposite direction of TLS everywhere (CloudFlare exempted)?
The protocol itself doesn't leak that information. Remember, there are no addresses to individual machines to people, only addresses for the data. When you request something the routing protocol will route the request to the source of data. Each router remembers the previous hop the request came from. On each hop a router checks if it already caches the data and responds, otherwise forwards request further. So even the source website doesn't know who requested it. I suppose the issue might be that router immediately would know what you requested.
You can mitigate it in two ways:
- encrypt the data and only give key to decrypt it to subset of people who supposed to be able to access it
- encrypt data individually per user, in that case you no longer can rely on caching properties of the network and the source server needs to be aware who requested what (since it is encrypting the data). i.e. you falling back to the way how TCP/IP now operates.
> Also how do you bootstrap it? If I upload some image and it's instantly popular on reddit and generating many Mbps of traffic, don't I have to stick around long enough to get it up and cached? Or would there be free seed services that will get the first several GB out?
Well you're expected to host it all the time. The network won't be caching it forever individual packets have TTL and also routers can purge data if they need to make space for other data that is now popular.
I suggested NDN as a response to that S3 bucket doesn't handle highly popular content well. The NDN properties allow highly popular content being hosted even from places with low bandwidth, because the network will handle the load.
NDN on the other hand is a network protocol that is capable to run without TCP/IP (it's actually designed to be able to replace it). They actually built a testbed: https://named-data.net/ndn-testbed/
Similarly to TCP/IP you can build application that utilize the protocol. In fact I suspect implementing IPFS in NDN would be much easier than in TCP/IP.
In fact looks like someone did just that: https://named-data.net/publications/techreports/ndn-tr-27-nd...
and source code: https://github.com/named-data/NDNFS
Essentially the big change is that instead of using addresses for servers what if you put addresses on the data itself. That approach gives some properties:
- network can cache the data - no CDNs needed, no slash dot effects etc
- free multicasting (a hard problem at scale with TCP/IP)
- better handling of slow/lossy network
- easy multipath routing
It's very efficient for things that can potentially have many people interested in. Like streaming popular videos, hosting images (like discussed here imgur). The benefit for these sites is that they would have lower costs to operate because they would require less bandwidth, because anything that's popular will be cached by the network.
Edit: Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Named_data_networking
Unlike FreeNet it was designated that while it can work as an overlay network it is actually capable to run without TCP/IP so it could even replace it.
Also unlike FreeNet it's not trying to obscure who is hosting the content. Basically you get a prefix (which looks like unix file path) which you start advertising to neighboring routers (like IP is advertised in TCP/IP) so then all requests under it (as long as no cached version is available anywhere) will be forwarded to you.
I imagine being an image hosting service it would be cheaper in the long run, although I have no idea by how much and if it would make sense all things considered.
Either put up with the free-image-host cycle of crap, or pay for your own domain and hosting.
 Free image host N is awesome, bandwidth is expensive so free image host N needs money, free image host N starts to add shitty anti-features, free image host N+1 enters at the start of the cycle, free image host N closes...
Before Imgur there was Photobucket, Imageshack, and many others. Now Imgur is at the end of the anti-feature cycle. Reddit's own hosting is entering the cycle, right on cue.
The basic problem seems to be that the web has a trust issue, not between users and services. But between services and advertisers.
Until that trust issue is solved, so that sites can bring ad hosting under their own domain rather than embed unsupervised ads from third parties, there will be no end to this runaround.
That said, inhouse ad management do not always do a good job either. Right now i have Reddit ads killed because i got tired of having some rotting face glare at me from the sidebar just because i visit the odd gaming sub-reddit from time to time.
I actually liked them, though after switching to uBlock Origin years ago I'd forgotten about the network and to whitelist them, sadly.
I'm highly skeptical, in that I believe the nature of ads makes this inherently unfeasible.
The point of ads is to be seen by as many people as possible. In dramatic terms, you could say the purpose of ads is to invade your mental space against your will on behalf of product makers. How could that ever be ethical?
That aside, ads also present a conflict of interest for content makers. You want your site to be nice and high-quality. But you need money, so you put up ads and comprise on the aesthetics. You want more people to see your ads so you're tempted to make more content, or arbitrarily divide your content into smaller pieces (fighting the end user's ultimate desire which is to peruse your stuff).
And then there's the whole "biting the hand that feeds" problem. I personally don't believe anyone showing ads can be truly objective regarding them. So maybe Google is evil, maybe not, are you going to turn down their money either way? Most smaller ad networks seem shady to me.
I think this seemingly theoretical problem is why ad blockers are still on the rise, going so far as to be baked into browsers (Brave on mobile is awesome). Not only do people dislike ads, I think they don't trust advertisers, and I think most users nowadays are aware of these ethical conflicts at least on a semi-conscious level.
In short, this is why I've personally made a promise to myself never to rely on ads. Maybe that means I can't get rich off of "killer apps", or even earn a living. But part of me believes that anything useful is worth paying for, so I'm focusing on building something useful.
Edit: Didn't mean for this to turn into a rant. Oh well!
Considering malvertising is a thing, attempting to spread malware through ads, users shouldn't trust advertisers.
I don't just run an ad blocker to prevent annoyances, I do it to increase security.
They're explicitly on all my adblocker whitelists since their ads only amount to a PNG image with a link.
The advertisers know where they are advertising, the site owners can control who advertises, the payment is transparent and everyone is happy.
Apparently they saw that the ad model was the way to go and discontinued the paid accounts.
Which is too bad because that's where we stand right now. I wish they would still offer an ad-free paid account.
I guess in the long run we'll see how Imgur current business model will last.
It's been retroactively removed from accounts.
It was pretty much the only reason I even kept a dropbox account. No point after that.
Really you have three options, free services have ads, paid services which require an account, or host your own.
Ultimately I think Imgur is destined to the same fate as TwitPic.
If anything, Reddit was the parasite because its users used a ton of Imgur bandwidth and by direct linking, didn't give anything in return.
Once Imgur decided to actually try to become a sustainable business, they had to change how that worked by trying to ensure that people coming to the site also saw ads. Then they started building their own community and working to become a direct competitor to Reddit.
At that point, the right biological metaphor is probably too organisms with the same food source in the same ecosystem, competing for resources.
Given that, it's no surprise that they are both working to sever ties to each other.
If you look at the numbers, after the beta Imgur was starting to grow again. It was a hit yes, but not an exodus.
Well… sure, you could say at first it was more of a symbiotic relationship, though probably providing more benefit to reddit than to Imgur, the latter absorbing the former's bandwidth costs and not getting much in return.
The parasitical part comes with
> but now Imgur has its own community
because, in order to ensure its survival, Imgur has tried to grow itself into an independent community on the back of reddit, to eventually be self-sustaining.
Now that reddit's cutting it off, maybe it actually will be self-sustaining. All the more power to them if that works.
But I don't think “parasitical” is an unfair characterisation of how things have worked so far. It's not really intended as a value judgement on my part.
It was absolutely a parasite. It would not have survived to grow to the size it did without Reddit. Parasites can offer a beneficial service to the host but cannot live without it.
It has since evolved into something possibly capable of existing on its own but only time will tell.
My guess is it lives for a few more years at best.
Incidentally, this is not what biologists consider parasitism. To a biologist, a parasitic relationship is one that benefits one while harming the other. Do you think that reddit was harmed by imgur? If imgur benefited but reddit was not harmed, their relationship was commensal. If they both benefited, their relationship was mutual.
To capture the idea that imgur was totally dependent on its relationship with reddit (but not vice versa), you would say that their mutualism was obligate for imgur but facultative for reddit.
Parasitism is when one party benefits while the other is harmed.
It's true that Imgur has to grow its product now to something bigger. I won't even give them many years if they don't do that for a product that simple and ephemeral. They have challenges here.
The parasite metaphor does not include the idea of being a "copy-cat"; parasites in the real world do not do the same things as their host. Indeed, that is the entire point of a parasite, in some sense; to take advantage of the host setting up various expensive systems to survive and just using them instead of developing their own.
Too bad for any of the artists or photographers or content-creators who were depending on Imgur, but, 'Mister you knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up' as the story goes.
I think a lot of people in this thread don't know that one of the primary definitions of parasite can include not harming the host and generically mean: "an organism living in, with, or on another organism."
And if you question the dependency part of Imgur being a parasite, just wait until you see how things go for Imgur the next few years post Reddit handling its own images. One can thrive without the other, it's obvious which that is.
Given that many subreddits have in their rules that people submitting images and blog posts should copy and paste the content into Reddit rather than linking to the actual creator, it seems more accurate to say that Reddit was a parasite on Imgur.
This is true in exactly the same sense that "pastebins are essentially parasites on freenode". Which is to say, kinda not.
Pastebins are merely text hosts.
edit: just found this, it looks like they're continuing to move away from being a simple image host for reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/assholedesign/comments/6eip2q/imgur...
It's funny though, because that's what Imgur was created to be. The problem is it's absolutely unsustainable as a “business model”.
As to why compete with imgur? User experience. It's much easier to share a picture on Reddit now, with it being a native feature, rather than having to go to imgur or elsewhere, upload something, find the best/right URL to share with, and the submit that to Reddit.
I have a feeling that this image upload thing was dreamed up by an intern who thought "oh, this would improve our user flow!" while not realizing it might literally double the company's costs in exchange for a gain of a few percentage points more users.
Reddit can't run obtrusive ads (they'd piss off their user base) so where is that money going to come from?
Example reddit url: https://i.redd.it/2n0gpcrfes4z.jpg
Example imgur url: http://i.imgur.com/ykbUTZG.jpg (and that can even be shortened to http://imgur.com/ykbUTZG)
And those URL lengths are both fine. No one is typing those in manually very often. (Reddit's URLs used to have a bunch of long query params - those were a bit ridiculous)
presumably ownership of the image.
I'll argue against this. Imgur used to be a good site to host images, but they started getting way too big, bloated and slow. Reddit probably saw this as degrading their viewer experience, and rightly so, imo.
Now she's posting more content on Reddit, because it's easier and self contained.
There's also many advantages to keeping users "on site".
When will they start hosting short videos?
genuinely curious, why is that important? is it common to memorize the URLs instead of copying and pasting?
Also, being a developer and security conscious, I inspect URLs before I click on them. The longer they are, the more frustrated I get examining them.
it doens't really matter if a url is long or short, right? as long as the domain looks good then there's no reason to check every character in the url? not sure why it's more secure to have a shorter url if the domain is safe
*not a security expert
So when a direct Imgur image link is opened in its own tab, Imgur can redirect to a webpage if it feels like it.
In Firefox, by changing about:config value "image.http.accept" to
I never quite understood why do browsers let a webserver know the context you're loading the requested resource in, for privacy's sake.
As soon as Imgur took funding the die was cast. They have to show more ads, get more traffic to their pages, and drive engagement.
Imgur was at its best when it was simple to upload and link. Those days are gone.
>Upload an image to easily directly link to elsewhere.
From the single ad view of the OP that uploads, they expect to make enough money to fund the thousands of people that will then download the image? Doesn't make sense. I wish it did, because that's a user-friendly world, but somebody is paying to keep that server running.
There are mechanisms where free image hosting makes sense. Remember when we used to pay for email? There are always ways to monetize products indirectly, or have value add, when direct monitization doesn't work well.
"Oh, we built many of our communities on sharing Copyright protected content by way of our weasel-cousin IMGUR, so let's go ahead and bring all that DMCA/Safe Harbors liability under our umbrella - you're joking, right?"
At least the Conde Nast lawyers will come out okay in this.
Imgur's current business model was not sustainable. Direct image linking is expensive and can't be monetized. Imgur has been making an effort to lessen direct image linking and may end up blocking it entirely eventually, which would screw over reddit.
And so reddit had to be proactive and create their own alternative.
I have friends who visit imgur regularly, and it's what I would consider a meme platform. Although, I personally use it to just share photos.
Reddit's natively hosted app, is likely why they need increased investment. Honestly, I see why Reddit wanted their own natively hosted images, but I can't see how this will increase their revenue or help them succeed.
Also: Is it new that Reddit allows animated ads? I always had the feeling Reddit was a place where I could peacfully interact with others. Lately I am afraid it turns into a page full of animated, colorful distractions that make me feel uneasy.
Because it's very easy for the 'host' company to take your idea, undercut it and 'force' you out of business. Or to make changes that completely kill your product or service/screw up your marketing strategy.
It's a risk you have to take with a business so dependent on another particular company or site.
But it can succeed, if either:
1. The company buys you out and takes you inhouse instead of making a competitor from scratch (this seems to be a common business strategy for startups operating like this)
2. You can spin off the userbase into separate service (like mentioned by the commenter above).
3. Somehow you can exploit the situation to build a brand for a completely different business or industry. Kind of like how a lot of fan game developers use their temporary fame to market themselves to the industry or retrofit their work to be more original after the inevitable cease and desist notice.
frustrating overlays, slow, intrusive self promotion ... even worse on mobile. anyone remember the annoying cat paw?
Maybe because they identified how easy it would be for them to get nuked by Reddit?
A lingering question at that time was how imgur was paying their obviously enormous bandwidth bills, but /u/mrgrimm was always very vague about the source of his funding.
Long story short, it turns out that reddit had made an investment in imgur at one point while earlier funding was never made public. So reddit was banking on imgur being successful but never made that relationship explicitly public.
There were other weird relationship oddities too, e.g. imgur used to not allow pornography to be uploaded and linked to, except when the referrer came from reddit.com. (if you look up info on imgur and referrer tag weirdness, it's a common pattern)
After imgur started jumping the shark and reddit's entire executive team turned over, they decided to do their own image hosting service. But now they had a well funded plan-b to fall back on if their own hosting service didn't work out.
Imgur has always been very vague and shady about funding, revenue, growth plans. It's assumed that they just wanted to be a non-suck