My impression is that 9gag is a social fad. Memes became mainstream and the 'cool kids' (the early adopters) are already making fun of le upboat XDD I mustache you a herp derp.
9gag is pretty popular in Israel. My coworkers (20yo) still read it, but it was all the rage a few months ago, and in a family dinner my 13yo cousin asked me if I know the site. All this indicates the eternal cycle: 'knew them before it was cool' -> mainstream -> 'omg are you still into that?'
Dubstep (recent example) stopped being cool because it went mainstream. Memes will not stop being cool - image macros are the laziest way to get information - but 9gag (unless they do something crazy) will become just a site. Remember the esoteric tumblrs?
I was a little confused to see that 9GAG was in this current batch for YC. 9GAG is a 4 year old company, what sort of benefit does YC give them? What will they demo at demo day? Why not go to traditional VCs at this stage of operation?
9GAG is Reddit for the 90%. They Cherrypick the best memes from Reddit and wrap them in a social layer of Facebook comments and timeline integration to make them even more viral.
This company will never be nearly as big as Reddit but it seems to me that they're going to become more of a media company than a democratised news platform.
We'll start to see 9GAG Magazine, the book and TV shows. Like SocialCam, if Facebook cuts off timeline access I imagine they'll see a huge drop in engagement.
Although anyone can submit content it's very much editorialised and I think that will become more about submitting content for the editors.
A huge problem they're going to face as they branch out is copyright. They're trying to make a more legitimate FunnyJunk and this requires them to start looking at revshare and how they deal with copyright as they're promoting copyright content rather than it just being user added.
Content is created in the chaos that is discussion boards (4chan, SA before that). Then it is peer reviewed on aggregators (Reddit, Digg before that), and finally it is distributed to the masses in an easy to read format (9gag, tumblr, FB, etc.)
The problem is the lower the food chain you go the greater the resentment you see people have. People on reddit hate 9gag, people on reddit.com/new hate redditors that only view the front page, people on 4chan hate redditors for copying (or stealing) their memes. And everyone hates that the original message/humor gets lost or diluted each time to goes up a level.
Now you may not think that's a problem, but people on 4chan sure as hell don't want to see 9gag succeed, and the people who create the most content also create the most mischief.
The 9gag team is solid.I first met them at 500Startups early last year.
They also have a pretty neat mission that extends beyond a r/funny wrapper -- though with the myriad of clones and previously created similar sites there is some credit due to them for their rapid expansion.
I hope the raise will give them the resources to expand further as I have no doubt they are already doing quite well.
As for why YC -- probably to connect more fully in the Valley since they are (or intend to be) based in Hong Kong.
Pretty connected names in the investor list over at angel.co/9gag // Ben Ling, Chris Sacca, Kevin Rose etc..
Oh, and while I agree to some extent that sites like these marginally improve the internet, humour is a great remedy to many of our ails.
4chan-initiated and Reddit-fueled, 9gag's content has already been manipulated and their Facebook wall flooded with horrific imagery, fake memes and general buffoonery in order to offend and humiliate their community, which is basically this generation's eBaum's World.
Serious question - for a site that relies on user-generated content, how does this money help create a better user experience or bring a more intellectual community? Reddit's main feed is slowly toppling over as the "masses" overpopulate the number of people that provide true value with the saving grace being the subreddits. I'd also venture to say that Reddit's only-recent transformation to having proper staff and a CEO (that were huge contributors to the community before their hiring) is something a lot of people like about it too.
I guess I'm confused why a site as content-reliant as 9gag needs funding to beat out (given that's the intent) what is fundamentally an issue with their userbase, who have already been the laughing stock of the internet for quite some time now.
actually they manage to build their own community around it. there was even 'war' 9gag vs 4chan sometime ago and surprisingly their members were able to defend against 4chan spam and even counter attack.
They have a billion page views a month. I have no idea how well they're able to monetize, but at a $.20 CPM that's $2.4 million in revenue a year. Presumably they're still growing too. It seems pretty realistic that the investors could make their money back on this deal.
I would guess that the majority of those visitors are minors without a credit card. Even if you could convince advertisers to pay for those impressions today, they would soon become wiser and realize that they have no value.
See facebook's steadily falling income as an example of this happening: sure they have a stupid number of pageviews, but people are learning the real value of a pageview today.
"In less than nine months, 9GAG has more than quadrupled the number of monthly unique visitors to its site, going from 16 million to more than 70 million," said Tony Conrad, founding member and venture partner at True Ventures. "With its ability to easily and quickly spread entertaining visual content via Facebook and Twitter, the potential of 9GAG as a viral distribution platform is huge, and we look forward to working together with them to maximize this opportunity."
This seems like a large, risky bet to make on a humor site with fast growth but not much track record. I don't know a lot about 9GAG, but it seems like a case where since Funnyordie and Reddit were successful, any site with growth deserves investment.
Unfortunately, they have this little problem of not holding any rights to any of their content. This is of little concern now, as most of it is anonymous image macros and whatnot but, if they get big, some larger rights holders will start paying attention to them.
Pageviews are easy, especially on a social picture aggregator. It's not hard to imagine one person clicking on hundreds of images per day. The hard part is trying to monetize these pageviews.
It doesn't take a kick-ass team to put up a link farm and spam it out. It takes a kick-ass team to profit from it and not tank the reputation. Digg failed. Reddit is struggling. I'm not sure 9gag will do any better.
9GAG is killing it! This is an extremely competitive and cluttered space on the web. They were able to carve out their own niche and build one of the largest websites in the world. This wasn't a 1 night trick or hack, it takes a lot of time and patience to build anything remotely close to what 9GAG has built.
saying that something is easy is easy. fyi these guys are already profitable and killing it money-wise. also take look at their page structure - they are not even optimizing for pageviews- you can scroll and see tons on pics on one page. 9gag is killing it by all metrics, and have some great products to intro in upcoming months.
disclaimer: I obviously dont work for 9gag, but I know the founders, since they are from the same yc batch.
so what? as i mentioned i know 9gag founders since they are from the same yc batch. they are extremely smart and talented guys, that already archived a lot and set very ambitious goals for their company future. i honestly wish them luck and excited to see them succeeding.
If what is stated in the title ('YC S12') is true, then definitely yes. 9Gag has been around for close to four years. But that begs another question? Why did they choose to join YC then? They already had their product out and had a pretty large user base - what does YC have to offer them?
They put links to blast content to all your friends on Facebook right at your fingertips. Easy for an image to go viral. Not really sure about a revenue stream but it's probably something shady about getting access to lots of people's Facebook profiles.