First Tumblr, Now Imgur? Yahoo "Considering Buying" The Picture-Sharing Website
Et tu, Imgur? Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is reportedly pushing hard to acquire Imgur, the image-sharing website beloved by Reddit. Imgur, which is pronounced Image-er, is prime for plucking by Mayer: Since she took the helm in 2012, Yahoo has gobbled up dozens of smaller websites, with its most high-profile purchase being the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. And with Imgur attracting 100 million monthly unique users in September alone, it makes sense that Mayer would be courting the site.
Even though Imgur only has 10 employees and boasts limited revenue, an acquisition could fetch a pretty penny, according to Business Insider.
Our guess is Yahoo would have to offer something between $100 million and $500 million. But who knows in a world where Snapchat supposedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook.
Although there are many picture-sharing sites out there (with my personal favorite being imgfave), Imgur has far outpaced them in growth. For comparison, The New York Times has about 31 million monthly unique visitors, while Reddit and Buzzfeed attract about 85 million and 130 million, respectively.
Perhaps more importantly, with the addition of a recent chat feature, Imgur is able to prioritize the types of personal, organic stories that media conglomerates fawn over. In an interview with The Atlantic ("the kind of positive, access-given story that comes out about a startup when it is fundraising or on the block," as Business Insider claims), Imgur founder Alan Schaaf says his site is "super-dynamic, so it's changing multiple times a day. ... there's a reason to keep coming back."
Shaaf founded the site in his Ohio University dorm in 2009, because he thought Reddit — and the entire Internet — had a large gap where an easy image uploader should have been. He was right. After posting his creation "as a gift to Reddit," it exploded and has never slowed down. It continues to evolve:
Imgur is shifting: from image host to user community to public destination. In that sense, it's following the opposite trajectory of a Facebook or a Twitter or a similar site—networks that are trying to become platforms. Imgur is a platform that is trying to become a social network.
So, is this just another case of a big company ruining an Internet gem in order to make money — à la Facebook and Instagram — or will Yahoo leave Imgur largely intact if bought? For a company like Yahoo, which can be perceived as the embarrassing aunt of the Internet, image is everything. And Imgur can boost Yahoo's "cool factor."
As Business Insider explains, "Yahoo bought Tumblr because it has a deeply engaged, youthful audience, that uses the product on mobile. It would buy Imgur for all the same reasons." With Yahoo sites boasting more traffic than Google, Imgur might positioned Yahoo to grow even further. And if there is a deal, it might signal an end for Yahoo-owned Flickr. Right now, Yahoo is keeping its mouth shut.
Redditors don't seem too concerned about this news quite yet. As of press time, there are only 13 comments on a Reddit thread posted about the possible acquisition.