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Born of Reddit, Imgur now dwarfs the ‘front page of the Internet’ (venturebeat.com)
259 points by r0h1n on Sept 27, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 136 comments

My take on why imgur is on top (I've been using & evangelizing it for a couple years): They initially picked one thing (image hosting) and did everything possible to remove barriers & friction to getting that task done.

Ways to upload to imgur include clicking upload button, using file dialog; dragging and dropping onto the webpage; OSX dashboard widget (used this one when I was on mac); windows context menu (right click send to imgur); chrome extension; FF extension; bash script; wordpress plugin... basically any way you can think of, you can put images on imgur quickly. Oh and not blocking 3rd party referrers, and actually doing a good job of handling images makes a big difference. To the latter point: I was uploading images from iOS to wordpress but the orientation was in the EXIF data. WP ignored this so my images were rotated the wrong way... use `convert` to fix them 1x1 = pain in the ass. Select images, drag/drop onto desktop, group as album... surprise surprise: imgur orients the pictures properly automatically.

The UX on imgur is what I'd call a case study of good UX, basically the best I've seen on any website. Kudos to imgur, they deserve all the success they're getting. /fanrant

Absolutely, 100% in agreement.

It took me less than 5 seconds to upload this image and get my hands on a unique, neat URL leading to said image: http://i.imgur.com/1o3iJe1.gif

The process:

* Type: imgur.com & hit enter

* Drag image from desktop and drop

* Hit enter

* Click (optional)

* Done.

No prompts to log in or create an account. No need to navigate to an 'upload' button. No prompts to share on various social media sites. No intrusive adverts.

The sheer simplicity and convenience is immense.

With great power comes great responsibility.

Probably not worth worrying too much, but it is important to keep in mind the terms of the site. Your cute or clever meme may end up on a T-shirt.

> With regard to any file or content you upload to the public portions of our site, you grant Imgur a non-exclusive, royalty- free, perpetual, irrevocable worldwide license (with sublicense and assignment rights) to use, to display online and in any present or future media, to create derivative works of, to allow downloads of, and/or distribute any such file or content. To the extent that you delete a such file or content from the public portions of our site, the license you grant to Imgur pursuant to the preceding sentence will automatically terminate, but will not be revoked with respect to any file or content Imgur has already copied and sublicensed or designated for sublicense. Also, of course, anything you post to a public portion of our site may be used by the public pursuant to the following paragraph even after you delete it.


Yeah, I'm really not concerned about that. Honestly, it's about what I would expect. Especially since they're totally fine with breaking off the agreement for anything you choose to delete, if they haven't already used it.

So what you're saying is, Imgur needs to partner with a clothing and accessories company and REALLY make some money.

They already have a store, but I don't see them trying to sell anything based on user uploaded content although it seems to be within their rights if they wanted to.


That's just the standard disclaimer anyone would use if they allow user submitted content. If you change your service in the future, then you need to protect yourself from litigious users.

Wow. I'm an amateur photographer who's uploaded some of my best photos on imgur to show to people. Never again.

Do you know hosting sites with different terms?

I wrote a simple temporary image hosting service that is very similar.


In some WM is not possible to "drag&drop" files. I use i3 without an X file manager.

If you double click the background it should prompt up a file picker, I'm not really sure if that solves your problem though.

You forgot to mention something I only discovered recently, but now use all the time: you can even ctrl-V (that's right, paste) an image from the clipboard onto Imgur. Super useful if you just made a quick sketch of something in GIMP, just ctrl-C, go to imgur.com, ctrl-V, click to upload, click to copy URL, done!

Only thing that would be easier if GIMP had a "save to Imgur" feature (and I bet there's a plugin for that ...).

I totally agree with your fanrant. I think they did an excellent job paving the way with images, but there are still gaps to be filled with audio, video, etc. I've started working on audiour ('The imgur of audio') in my spare time and there has been a decent amount of traffic. I feel that giving the ability for users to fully participate on a site before they create an account is going to become more popular over time.

Suggestion: even though you are explicitly imitating imgur for a different medium, don't say it out loud. If you want to convince imgur to work with/buy/fund you first, fine, but otherwise, two things intuitively make it seem like a bad idea:

1. potential legal issues with referring directly or indirectly to imgur

2. it really comes off as a cheap copycat rather than a unique product serving a different (albeit somewhat similar) purpose.

Come up with a creative name indicative of the fact that it is in fact a standalone, not dependent on or related to imgur itself in any way.

That's fair criticism - I'm open to the idea of changing the name. However, I'm not too concerned about the legal issues with imgur - I've spoken with Alan (the creator/CEO) in person and directly told him I would change the name - he said not to worry about it. I think the idea that Audiour is coming off as a 'cheap copycat' is a concern though. It's something I'll definitely think about.

I agree that the name "Audiour" has a few issues, but the cheap copycat issue isn't that big in my opinion. You're clearly doing something else. A copycat name would be if you were using the name "imgour" or something like that.

The problem with the name "Audiour" is that it's not easily pronouncable. If I remember correctly, imgur was aimed to mimic the word "imager". When I read "Audiour" the first thing I think of is an audiotour in a museum. When I try to pronounce it, I have the choice between "audi-our", "audio-er" or "audi-oor".

If you're interested, I bought soundur.com because in my opinion that's a much better name.

You can have it if you want - contact me at username @gmail.com :)

Awesome example of a company that doesn't try to be everything to everyone and just focuses on the one thing they do very well.

Just please don't try and emulate their success in your startup, bc it likely won't work. These guys won the side-project lottery so an amazing kudos to them.

> These guys won the side-project lottery

This is far from the truth. There was a clear demand for free image hosting that is easy to work with, and imgur fit the bill.

I remember the post that launched imgur.

It really was a scratch your own itch kind of thing. So many redditors complained about the crappy image sharing sites...lots of them were verboten to use on reddit because they were so spammy, or slow, or whatever. There was no clear leader in the image sharing space. Facebook was impossible (because it wants to own every user and won't let you show someone something without logging in), even if it were an acceptable place to upload weird random pictures (I know many people who do, but they just don't know about reddit and imgur yet). So...imgur's founder saw a very clear need, and humbly pointed redditors to it.

It took off because it was amazing in its simplicity and sincerity. imgur's founder clearly wanted you to share funny pictures in imgur, even if he couldn't figure out how to make it pay him money for every image. He just wanted to solve a very real problem that caused millions of people tiny amounts of pain. (When picking a problem, pick one that causes either a few people a lot of pain, or one that causes a lot of people a little bit of pain. You're unlikely to find a problem that causes a lot of people a lot of pain, since those are already usually very competitive.)

I also remember the post that originated imgur... because I was addicted to reddit back then. The founder called imgur a "gift to reddit"... http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/7zlyd/my_gift_to...

Like most redditors I was shocked when I couldn't use my karma to buy stake in imgur. After becoming depressed that imgur was not really a "gift", I quit reddit, and decided to found a startup. And now I'm here. So thank you for that imgur.

> Like most redditors I was shocked when I couldn't use my karma to buy stake in imgur. After becoming depressed that imgur was not really a "gift", I quit reddit, and decided to found a startup. And now I'm here. So thank you for that imgur.

I'd be surprised if many readers know what the hell you're talking about.

> Like most redditors I was shocked when I couldn't use my karma to buy stake in imgur. After becoming depressed that imgur was not really a "gift", I quit reddit, and decided to found a startup. And now I'm here. So thank you for that imgur.


People want things for free. News at eleven.

And yet, 'MrGrim' is still using reddit, namely this nice post last week: "I'm finally going to build the computer of my dreams" http://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/1mjbvl/build_ready...


It's almost as if reddit karma is totally meaningless!

> It really was a scratch your own itch kind of thing.

I agree. They make it look lucky because they executed so well. Good entrepreneurs have a habit of making it look easy to outsiders (Zuck was lucky because he was at Harvard and had the right connections, etc.)

There is a new problem of this type at reddit and other sites if somebody wants a project idea to work on. The problem is animated GIF's. At the moment most animated GIF's are too large, not optimized and the sites are slow.

This has been a constant long-term complain on some of the sports subs that I frequent that post highlights from games. You press the button to display the animated GIF inline and it loads a couple of frames a second and takes 10-30x the GIF length to load. There are two factors here:

1. A lot of people don't know how to optimize animated GIF's. You don't need 24 or 30 frames per second where 8 will suffice, and you don't need full image quality on mobiles or tablets, or even on desktops. You can cut down the frame rate automatically and scale up the compression for some clients to load faster.

2. A lot of the regular hosts are overloaded and slow.

A service idea for animated GIF's would be to specify a video to cut from then have the service automatically create and load desktop, mobile and tablet versions with low frame rates and hosted from a decent CDN. The regular posters are now using Google+ since it loads, but they haven't solved the optimization part.

You don't have to spend a lot of time online to see and identify these pain points, you just have to be in the right mindset where you notice them and can identify the opportunity.

edit: If anybody wants to do this, email me (in profile) and i'll send you my notes. It is something that I considered putting together but I don't have the time. I did do some research though (i'm a mod at some sports subs). If you serve optimized versions for different devices then that would be a good reason to get submissions linking to an HTML page rather than hot-linking to an image.

Pipeline would be:

    upload video -> convert to 3 optimized version -> visitor lands on your HTML page -> serve version based on UA
running these services isn't as expensive as what it used to be, CND's are now cheap. imgur is profitable with 12 staff and running on AWS, with no ads.

No idea if it's technically possible, although it really feels like it should be, but for me the biggest single improvement a site could do to animated gifs would be to allow at least basic video controls - particularly pause or step backwards.

I hate watching a 30 second animated gif where the fancy skill or whatever that it's trying to show is about 2 seconds long and I have to keep looping round and round again to try to catch the critical moment.

Maybe it's already out there somewhere, but I've not seen it.

404 Not Found

A lot of people got all excited when sites like YouTube and Vimeo added support for HTML5 video, believing the <video> element was The Future Of Special Sites You Visit To Watch Videos. Given that YouTube still uses Flash exclusively for a whole lot of content, I'm not sure that's going to work out.

On the other hand, I believe the <video> element could be The Animated GIF Killer. GIF compression is terrible especially for video, and I'm sure with some tweaking of compression options you could make a .mp4 video with higher quality and a fraction of the size of the equivalent .gif. If there were some site like Imgur that let you upload some small video fragment, let you do the appropriate timeline snips, and automatically created a nice small .mp4 and a fallback .gif, that would be truly excellent.

Give it a maximum video length of 10 or 20 seconds and pre-load the site with a bunch of the more popular reaction GIFs like the Picard Facepalm and Orson Wells clapping, and you should be good to go.

EDIT: Looks like https://mediacru.sh/ does at least the GIF->MP4 encoding, although it misses imgur's handy "here's how to use this on your site" examples.

> and I'm sure with some tweaking of compression options you could make a .mp4 video with higher quality and a fraction of the size of the equivalent .gif.

No tweaking needed. Test it yourself: Download any of those huge gifs and encode it to h.264 with ffmpeg defaults. With no perceptive quality loss it's immediately 60-90% smaller. And then h.265 comes along soon.

Except part of the reason GIFs are popular is that everything at least sort-of supports them, even Internet Explorer 4.

I expect that will be a common belief long after it ceases to be a true belief. There's still people that avoid PNGs because "they don't work properly in Internet Explorer" but most vaguely web-savvy people wouldn't bat an eyelid at a PNG today. I want the same thing to happen for HTML5 video: the latest version of every major browser supports it, including Internet Explorer, and including mobile browsers; the biggest limitation I can think of is forum software that doesn't yet have <video> on its whitelist, but time (and a bit of targeted complaining) should solve that too.

Vine and its competitors offer this kind of HTML5 video fragments.

And you constantly see posts on reddit where the Vine video was turned into a gif, uploaded to ingur, and shared.

I never understood that. You'd think that reddit users are savvy enough to adopt html5 video. RES could just as readily inline video as they do animated GIFs, and we would all save a hell of a lot of bandwidth.

The advantages of animated GIFs made sense pre-video tag.

It's probably more of a perception thing than anything else. An animated GIF feels like a lot less overhead than a full on video, even if the file itself is smaller as a video.

Also user forums like reddit are a lot more likely to permit images in posts than a video tag, so you get the added portability of being able to post it almost everywhere.

Vine videos only reliably load for me on Chrome. They're almost totally broken on every other browser.

In case anyone is wondering; this guide does wonders with GIF size reduction: http://blog.room208.org/post/48793543478

It helped me to go from 6 MB to 100 KB for my specific type of video to animated GIF conversion.

So it's funny you outlined exactly what I created 2 years ago. I have all the code for uploading videos or gifs, running them through a combination of Imagemagick and ffmpeg to generate mp4/webm videos and image spritesheets for mobile devices. The only hitch now is probably the big cost of running these libraries on elastic computing services. ffmpeg is a beast, and it'll probably cost quite a bit of money to handle all the transcoding.

It's interesting that you say that. Not to long ago I built something kinda like that for gifs because eof exactly what you said: it wasn't easy enough to make them. So, I built http://gifmachine.xwl.me to scratch that itch. It works using youtube videos as input, so you only have to have a url to get started.

A friend of mine is working on http://www.giflike.com/

It's "like animated gifs", but implemented with JPEGs + javascript. JPEG encoding is much more efficient for photos, and doing the animation in javascript enables fun features such as reversing and scrolling through frames in the browser.

So, he is reinventing MJPEG, in Javascript...

I can't find the proper words to comment this.

How about "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"? :)

There was a codec in the mid-90s that porn sites and some illegal warez groups used that was essentially this. At the time your options were either AVI or a very expensive commercial solution, so someone came up with splitting video files into JPEG's and streaming them over the web and using javascript to slice them back together.

I remember watching star wars on one of the earliest web streaming sites - the image was around 150x150px and would refresh once per second. It was still the most awesome thing I had ever seen at the time, though.

It was probably multipart/x-mixed-replace, rather than javascript.

Imgur has ads unless you're a pro member.

Just want to point out that when hotlinking to an image you can still serve seperate versions depending on the user agent.

Pretty sure imgur doesn't run on aws and does have ads.

> Facebook was impossible (because it wants to own every user and won't let you show someone something without logging in)

Well that's not true. Just get the image url and you're good to go.

Facebook denies images based on their privacy controls even if you are viewing a .jpg URL. People try to share those links often on a forum on which I'm a member, and when you view the link not logged in to FB or not connected to the proper proper 'friend', you receive a 'this content is not currently available' message.

I made the very first imgur upload plugin: https://addons.mozilla.org/En-us/firefox/addon/imgur-uploade... I like to think it helped imgur growing bigger. Too bad this was the time reddit gold was not a thing yet.

> I remember the post that launched imgur.

So do I.

It's kind of funny to see some of the things that have been born out of reddit or other social communities, having read the posts that resulted in them.

On that note, I wonder how the history of project origins is going to change, in a sentimental way. We hear folklore of person X talking to person Y at dinner, which birthed projected Z. Now we can link to where MrGrim first promoted one his project.

For the interested, he did an AMA on reddit[1].

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/y81ju/i_created_imgur_...

Well, they are either very competetive or extremely hard to solve. Think cancer.

Well, they are either very competetive or extremely hard to solve. Think cancer.

Have you seen the price of cancer drugs?

Others tried and largely failed. Min.us, photobucket, ... were all OK at 10 or 20 viewers, but when you hit the front page, the top-rated post was an Imgur mirror that [usually] responded to direct .png/.jpg links without fault.

> There was a clear demand for free image hosting that is easy to work with, and imgur fit the bill.

There are plenty of these around, so I doubt it was being free and simple that made them "win" (we have an ad-free one with even simpler UI, for example). There were 2 factors that contributed most to their success in my opinion: a) being used much on Reddit, b) being awesome at implementing many useful, well-designed features. Without a), they would probably still have won this race, but at a much slower pace.

On the contrary:

- low latency (images served instantly)

- no ads (initially)

- upload, get link

Initially there were zero features. The pace was entirely based on serving images fast. Everything else you think of imgur came later.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a side project. I'm not sure, but I'll bet Alan Schaaf got pretty deep into Imgur before he quit his day job for it.

I've met Alan a few times - he told me he was in college when he started it, and the original imgur was run off of a server in his dorm room, and he later moved to a CDN run by somebody else he met on reddit. He's a cool guy, really humble on the rumble.

I think nonchalance is arguing more to the point that this was not a "lottery winner." It was a good idea from the start, because it filled a need people actually knew about, instead of filling a need that people didn't know they had yet.

It was a need that people had, but there was no chance of making a profit without the good will of Reddit users trying to help them get ad views and bury submissions from other image dumps.

The founder also made a thread claiming it was a "gift" to Reddit while also saying the same thing to Digg.

Ahh poor reading on my behalf. Valid point, although many people build side projects that fulfill a valid need that never get adapted. You usually don't have the luxury of a marketing budget or the time to promote your idea effectively when it's just your side project. Then again that's the beauty of Reddit - 1 front page post = 10's of thousands of hits.

What part of their success shouldn't you emulate? Are you suggesting people shouldn't do side projects because they might not be wildly successful? That doesn't sound like good advice. Sure, if you never try, you can never fail -- but you can also never succeed.

Solid questions and the point that is a risky piece to be emulated is the only have one thing.

The reason why Imgur got so big was because all the other image upload providers started monetizing themselves by blocking direct links and limiting traffic. No one else wanted to be stuck with huge bandwidth bills on hard to monetize reddit visitors where most of them have adblock.

For some reason people feel obligated to link to the Imgur page instead of directly to the image. This allows Imgur to make money off the ads on the page. Maybe this is because the founder made it seem like he made the site just to solve Reddit's image hosting problems for free(he also made a similar announcement on Digg).

Without this support and the growth of unlimited bandwidth servers, I don't think Imgur would have became so big.

If they decide to disallow hotlinking or add more intrusive ads, another replacement would pop up. This is probably why the founder wants to focus on getting revenue in a different way.

> founder made it seem like he made the site just to solve Reddit's image hosting problems for free

I can't find the reference, but IIRC he (the founder of Imgur) didn't make any money for the first couple of years, as the bandwidth costs were crazy high. But he was happy to do so, because it helped the community there.

> Without this support and the growth of unlimited bandwidth servers

Without the support of his community he wouldn't have made it. I also remember him saying something along the lines of "I make no money to pay for bandwidth if you reference the .jpg file itself, but I still allow it. So I simply just ask the community to use the Imgur URL". It became part of Reddit culture to do the latter, because the users valued the service.

TL;DR - Provide a valuable service, don't piss of your users, and you can actually make some money.

From the article:

> The company is also profitable, and it has been since about a year after the site launched. Schaaf declined to share the specifics on what those profits are, but they are at least high enough to have moved the Imgur team from their roots in Ohio to a snazzy new San Francisco office with 10 full-time employees and three contractors/part-time workers.

In the article is states:

"The company is also profitable, and it has been since about a year after the site launched."

I'd like to add that they also provide many useful features, like nice album views and bulk downloads. And I suspect those useful features, combined with the eye-friendly design, help make people much more likely to paste non-direct links.

But the question is: Would those other image dumps would have stopped putting in hotlink protection if they knew people would change back to non-direct links?

Or is it because the founder of imgur told people he made imgur just to help Reddit users?

Before imgur, most links were direct.

The answer to this question should be interesting to entrepreneurs here: Is it a good strategy to create a business for a large social network under the pretense of public good? Is the sheer number of users more important than how monetizable they are and the likelihood they will reciprocate?

They also offer pro accounts too for ~$25 a year, which I would imagine is fairly useful if you are a heavy user of their service.

For example, since the pro account as no inactivity pruning, I bet you could setup a photography website that hosts tons of images, and use imgur as your primary image host to offset bandwidth use...

I bet one reason why everyone links to the page is because Imgur sets it up that way in their copy-paste links. Makes it easier for non-technical users to link to the page while not placing any actual barrier to direct links.

If you guys do want an alternative, I'm struggling to get MediaCrush [1] more popular. It's a lot better [2], but imgur is imgur. The hardest part is that Reddit (admins and moderators, that is) is actively supportive of imgur and actively hostile towards alternatives.

[1] https://mediacru.sh [2] https://blog.mediacru.sh/2013/07/19/MediaCrush-for-nerds.htm...

Oh boy, a site that automatically does GIF->MP4 transcoding!

One of the nice things about imgur, though, is that once you've uploaded an image it gives you a nice handy preview page where you can do things like add a heading above the image or a caption below it, and gives you sample HTML and bbcode to copy and paste to embed the image on your own site. If you could do that, especially if the HTML code used <video> with the GIF in an <img> as fallback, I imagine that would be pretty sweet.

I agree that redditors on the whole are pretty supportive of imgur, but a good part of that is because Imgur is very trusted: it got an initial burst of trust by being (a) from reddit and (b) better than the alternatives, and it's continued to repay that trust with interest in the intervening years. That's not to say that other sites can't or won't be better, just that (as I'm sure you've found) other sites will have an awfully steep hill to climb unless they're mind-blowingly better, or Imgur somehow shoots itself in the foot (by disabling hot-linking, or requiring Facebook authentication to upload images, etc.)

We used to fallback to GIF in the <video> tag, but Chrome would completely load the GIF before it even started on the videos.

Albums are coming in the somewhat near future, and you'll be able to caption them. Also, the developer docs [1] document the easy-to-use embedding tool for putting them in your own websites, but maybe we should make that more visible.

[1] https://mediacru.sh/docs/

Yeah, I have frequently uploaded screenshots to Imgur and copy/pasted the embedding sample to a web-forum or whatever, so it would be handy to have that in the human-reachable portion of the site, rather than only in the API.

Also, I was talking about MediaCrush with a friend just now, and he pointed out that nowhere in MediaCrush's ToS does it mention anything about deleting images other than by legal pressure. Imgur says they'll delete images after three months without a hit; MediaCrush doesn't say that, but it doesn't not say it either.

We will not delete images unless the user does it or we are legally pressured to do it.

You can delete your own images, by the way, from the same computer you uploaded them from. We won't put media on a time bomb, though, it'll be there as long as MediaCrush is there.

Minor point from the blog:

> The only thing we store about you is your hashed IP address when you upload a gif. It's impossible for us to get your original IP address from this.

What algorithm do you use? It's not that hard to brute force all 2^32 IPv4 addresses with SHA2 -- (even less if you exclude improbable ones)

Let me tell you a little secret: Apache has these things called logs that can "reveal" the IP address of another computer. And so can the evil hacker tool 'netstat'.

Do you trust this service or not? Don't trifle around with stupid shit like this.

We're running on nginx, and we told it not to log IPs. You'll obviously have to take our word for it. Even if you don't take our word for it, it's no worse than most other sites, which do log your IP.

EDIT: Or you can run a self-hosted instance of MediaCrush, it's open source: https://github.com/MediaCrush/MediaCrush

That was precisely my point: TCP doesn't work with a spoofed IP connection while maintaining state. So you usually have to use your IP address or a middleman like TOR or a proxy.

And then you have to trust the endpoint: you.

And frankly, I get sick of the undue and infinity-about paranoia. It gets tiring hearing again and again.

What if he's not being paranoid, but instead pointing out how paranoid and flawed the concept he has pointed out is?

The scenario described in the blog is an attacker gaining access to the database containing the IP hashes.

bcrypt. It'd take roughly 40 years to reverse a single hash on one modern CPU. A truly dedicated adversary with lots of resources could tie a single uploaded image to a single IP in about a week of hardcore hashing with thousands of CPUs.

Meh, You just hash all 4 billion with bcrypt.

I'm an idiot, bcrypt generates and appends it's own salt to break rainbow tables, but I'll leave the above.

No, because bcrypt uses a unique salt for each upload. Research bcrypt in a little more detail, it's the best choice for IP obsfucation.

A few suggestions:

- try to contact honestbleeps from the RES subreddit [1] and see if he can add MediaCrush support in RES to expand images from posts

- add file extension to the URL, it may help with some extension like HoverZoom or script [2].

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/Enhancement/

[2] http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/109262

edit: nvm, it works if I add the extension myself, but it would be great to add that to the URL when you upload a file.

We've had RES support since day one. We contacted him a while back.

As for HoverZoom, we don't really want to be involved with them [1]. We considered it, but decided against seeking their support.

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/MediaCrush/comments/1k1sb7/announcin...

> The hardest part is that Reddit (admins and moderators, that is) is actively supportive of imgur and actively hostile towards alternatives.

While I won't argue that they're supportive of imgur, do you have any evidence of them being hostile towards your service?

I just went to your page, and I was in the midst of critiquing your design when it occurred to me that the elements I had the largest problem with....were actually ads[1]. Ads that were inserted in such a way that I had no idea they were ads... IMO this is a terrible thing. Not only does it make your landing page trashy, it can (as I'm evidence of) easily confuse even the most seasoned of users. There is zero contextual information to signal that it was an ad, and only after clicking one of the 'buttons' did it occur to me that it wasn't a part of your site. So I almost get the feeling of being deceived into clicking an ad, and that puts a very bad taste in my mouth. I don't think that was your intention, to trick people into clicking ads, but when that's what happens I'm going to blame the site for allowing it to happen. Do note that imgur doesn't have any ads on imgur.com.

Some of the other reasons why I prefer imgur over your site:

* shorter URL

* dark background

All else being equal (feature parity for my needs), those 2 things will keep me on imgur. I hate white backgrounds (superficial I know, but preferences are preferences), and shorter urls are simply better for practically every use.

While I applaud your drive, the site looks like a imgur-copycat making a money-grab (due to the prominent & intrusive ads) in a fresh market.

1. https://mediacru.sh/4y6bAzy9_bti

Please tell me how I can make the ads less intrusive. I was under the impression that we had done them right. There's even a link to forever opt-out of ads without a second thought.

>Do note that imgur doesn't have any ads on imgur.com.

...yes they do.

> Please tell me how I can make the ads less intrusive.

Can you show me the visual demarcation on your page between the ad and your content?

> > Do note that imgur doesn't have any ads on imgur.com.

> ...yes they do.

My mistake, one of my extensions blocked it.

However, a few things to note about their ad vs. yours, which contributes to my perception of your page being confusioning (and making it look less reputable):

* imgur's ad is below-the-fold, while yours is not. That inherently makes theirs more of a 2nd-class citizen, while for yours the ad is a 1st-class citizen.

* imgur's is in it's own, well-defined UI element; a bounded box clearly separated from all other content on the page. As hinted above, yours allows the ad to flow into the rest of the page, and it even borrows the main color (blue) that your page uses. Any demarcation is only virtual, as there is no visual distinction, and I'm not sure if you could blend the ad into the page any better if you tried...

* imgur's even says "advertisement" underneath, so as to remove practically any chance of confusion. Yours has "click here to disable ads", but that alone doesn't explicitly call out the content as being an ad.

Please don't take my criticisms personally.

I can look into making the ads more obviously ads. There's not really another place to put them in our layout, though.

And for the record, we have a button that makes ads go away forever. I think that nullifies anything about ads being 1st class citezens.

Does everyone get the ad that I did? I think what confused me was that it blended into the site so unobtrusively, and I know that's a fine line and hard to work with.

Overall though, the rest of my experience was solid. It's really cool that you can disable ads, and that it's open-source to boot. Best of luck and good weekend!

It's Google Ads. We aren't entirely in control of what ads you get (we hope to move to our own ad system in the future, but we aren't big enough).

By the way, I pushed some updates today, including one that makes ads more obviously ads. Tell me what you think, and a good weekend to you, too!

Not a fan of how direct links to images always result in a download prompt.

Also the branding seems kinda outdated - two-word phrase with an inner capital letter, meh. And the URLs feel kinda long, even with the clever "putting part of your name into the tld" thing.

Between that kind of minor quibbles and my expectation that imgur is probably going to stay around for longer than your service is, I'm afraid I'm going to stick to imgur for my cat-related labeling-and-distribution needs.

I'm more interested in getting people to share short bits of video as small video files instead of huge gif files, but I don't think cartoons are a good showcase for that, even with the dramatic file size reduction. Compression artifacts are pretty visible with all the line art and fairly flat colors. (edit: and of course you're going against the flow of all the social websites, going back to web forums all the way to tumblr, where embedding gifs is trivial but videos are a big deal/require youtube/their own posts.)

Good luck, though!

Dude, could you make it any harder to follow your project? Give us a Twitter profile or RSS feed.

I had almost already forgotten about the existence of your service.


Looks nice enough, thanks! One thing, though - I was looking for a way to get to a file upload dialog, and I missed "click to browse", because I thought at first it will take me to a page where I can browse already uploaded images.

Perhaps "click to upload" or something like that would be better.

Good luck!

Good suggestion, I'll do that.

I found a bug: http://i.imgur.com/AvcOQXE.png

(I wasn't trying to be snarky by using imgur - it's just that you guys don't allow paste from clipboard yet and I'm on linux)

Which browser? I'm on Linux and you can paste URLs on Chromium. Not on Firefox. Pasting images is half done.

That's not the bug. The bug is that it says 'undefined'

It might be because we use `window.location.origin` to determine the media URL. This[1] post on StackOverflow suggest that only browsers based on Webkit or FF 21 and higher have it. What browser are you using? Can you please file an issue on GitHub[2] with as much information as possible so we can look into it?

[1] http://stackoverflow.com/a/6167979/379195

[2] https://github.com/MediaCrush/MediaCrush/issues

Well, in any case, I need some steps to reproduce if I hope to fix it.

To be fair, Reddit has been bitten by several image hosts before doing nasty things like botting up-votes to increase their traffic. It's not surprising they're skeptical of new hosts.

I like it. imgur breaks with click-to-play plugins (you have to activate a hidden object manually) and the commenting functionality and association with reddit put me off from using it.

I remember when this started, and I was amazed that the guy was willing to risk massive fees for little reward (at the time).

Very happy they have grown it into what it is today - fast, clean and stable.

It's what imageshack could have been.

Exactly. When I first saw Imgur, my immediate reaction was "nice site, but this guy is going to bankrupt himself in a few months - look at the horrible ways other image-sharers have to abuse their users to stay profitable". I didn't think it was sustainable.

Shows what I know.

I vaguely recall this as well. Wasn't there a migration to imgur in response to some backlash against an alternative service that was doing something that pissed off redditors? Or maybe I'm thinking of a different controversy...

Aside from the traffic milestone, another crop of impressive Imgur numbers involves the amount of funding the company has taken, which is exactly zero since launching in 2006. The company is also profitable, and it has been since about a year after the site launched.

Interesting to see where this goes.[1] It is a great story.

[1] see, eg: http://techcrunch.com/2007/05/07/myspace-to-acquire-photobuc...

I've always thought Reddit as a community and platform was massively under-leveraged. So what other problems do Redditors have?

My Reddit experience these days seems to be nothing more than using RES to scroll through images. I miss the good old days of in-depth discussions that were across the site and not just pushed into subreddits.

> So what other problems do Redditors have?

Ironically, content discovery.

Reddit's biggest problem is that the big subreddits are incredibly homogenous, and the small ones incredibly slow. If you want to read good, in-depth analysis of world affairs, then you'd better agree with the popular sentiment on /r/worldnews or /r/truereddit. If you don't, you're SOL.

Often, the good content you find is in the comments. However, this necessitates digging through thousands of comments that are generally low-content. This causes pain.

Want to solve a problem redditors have? Find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

There's no "good, in-depth analysis" of anything on the default subreddits, regardless of your political leanings. The whole demographic and mentality has shifted towards younger and younger teenagers.

What you really need is reddit for adults, a site with an entirely different culture that leaves the memes and unfunny jokes behind in favor of encouraging actual conversation on any given topic.

> There's no "good, in-depth analysis" of anything on the default subreddits, regardless of your political leanings.

Politics isn't a good

The best content on reddit that I find comes from niche communities. There are some really subject-specific knowledgeable people on there. You see those posts come through /r/bestof, which is just submissions to those gem comments that people find. It's worth subscribing to, but even that is a lot of noise to signal.

The only main/large subreddits I'm subscribed to anymore are /r/programming and /r/todayilearned. The other 50ish are for specific interests and hobbies.

Side rant: I swear that /r/technology went from a mature community of technically literate and rational people to a bunch of politically-charged kids obsessed with long-range scientific discoveries and product feature announcements in about a year. It was painful watching that happen. The patent war saga of yesteryear was the last straw that betrayed the community for the juvenile crowd it had become.

>What you really need is reddit for adults, a site with an entirely different culture that leaves the memes and unfunny jokes behind in favor of encouraging actual conversation on any given topic.

It isn't just the under18's that post memes you know.

How about MetaFilter?

> Reddit's biggest problem is that the big subreddits are incredibly homogenous, and the small ones incredibly slow.

There's definitely middle ground though. /r/DepthHub is pretty good at aggregating solid comments. And there's good debate on subs like /r/ChangeMyView and /r/NeutralPolitics. Admittedly, these subs don't refresh as fast as /r/worldnews, but there's usually new content every day.

Most of Reddit is a cesspool, but I always get really excited when there's something new in /r/dependent_types.

you want to be in a moderated subreddit (e.g. r/askscience), there's too many people for an interesting discussion otherwise.

Imgur solved a problem for Reddit the same way TwitPic solved a problem for Twitter.

I think it's a testament to Reddit that - unlike Twitter - they didn't feel like they needed to consume image hosting for their platform. It also spurred the growth of the meme sites. I'm sure Reddit will spawn more large niche sites yet.

For some heavily graphical subreddits (r/funny and such) the imgur subcategory is almost better, you skim faster through a gallery than through titles list.

I think a bit tribute to Imgur's success is the fact that it has the same content as reddit's front page, just a lot less of the internal politics and bitter comments that tend to drive people away from the site.

Two questions:

1. Why is imgur not #1 on Google when I search for "image hosting". Postimage.org has that, but they take far less traffic than imgur.

2. When will we get video hosting that is as easy to use as imgur? That means not having to register to upload and share videos.

He started out with PHP (Kohana framework AFAIR), wonder if they still use it...

I remember having that itch a few years before imgur happened; I shared a lot of screenshots with friends.

I wrote a PHP script that did fast upload with a minimalistic look and popped in on a server and bought a domain name for it; it got used pretty heavily in my group of nerdy high school/college friends.

But I never gave it any more thought, and just open sourced it a few years later (it's on my github I believe).

Makes one think decent image sharing is still an unsolved problem that any half done solution grows very fast.

who here even heard about Game Neverending? ...what about Flickr?

... and is just as unprofitable ?

Not that profit is everything but are they losing money daily?

You can tell who didn't read the article before commenting.

The article states they've been in profit since a year after operations began.

imgur succeeded because you could press arrow-keys and browse through their most-viral dumps.

Countdown to imgur buy out...

though I can't figure out how they monetize imgur..

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