Imgur, Not Facebook, is the Electricity of the Internet

Earlier this week Business Insider reported that Yahoo has its eye on Imgur. Yahoo bought Tumblr earlier this year to connect with the cool, hip youths of the world, and wants to do the same with the photo-sharing site.

It is my professional opinion (both as a marketer and fan of Harry Potter gif-sets) that Yahoo is a cool parent. My advice to Imgur users and panicking Redditors is to take a chill pill, drink the kool-aid, and embrace Yahoo as your fearless leader.

Reddit made Imgur what it is today. It was created as a “gift to Reddit” to make photo sharing easier, but has grown into its own with more than 100 million users. According to The Guardian, one million images are uploaded to Imgur daily (as of June 2013) which translates to 3.5 billion monthly views. Conversely, Reddit had 30 million posts in 2012. This means Imgur has more images uploaded in a month than Reddit has in a year.

catsredditlolImgur came into its own when people started using it outside of Reddit. Sharing photos on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and Facebook (the social network currently punishing memes for being “low-quality”) suddenly became easier with the short, shareable URLs.

This is why Imgur, not Facebook, is the electricity of the Internet. Electricity is something that everyone needs to live comfortably in their homes. More often than not, we take it for granted and use it without thinking. As people see the latest viral gifs and memes around the Internet, they’re using Imgur and not even thinking about it.

Despite its mass popularity, not many people actually visit Imgur to see what’s going viral. Instead they find images on Reddit and Tumblr and share them with their networks. Maybe they’ll view one image and keep clicking around the site YouTube-style, but few actively pursue the site as their go-to time waster.

imgur1234Imgur quietly rolled out sponsored images earlier this year and is the model for creating engaging paid content. Currently there’s an Anchorman 2 gif promoted that has a healthy conversation happening below it. Frankly, the site it doing everything right, it’s just flying under the radar. If I were Yahoo I’d want it too.

Having Yahoo as a parent isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sure, ads have been integrated into the Dashboard, but that’s not entirely a bad thing. As we’ve seen above, sponsored posts can be just as engaging as organic content. I’ve started following brands like PBS, Denny’s, and Ruffles because their Tumblr ads were interesting and cool.

When they first announced that Yahoo bought Tumblr, this is what one user predicted the site would look like:

tumblr_mn273iHaPd1reeztlo1_500Via

And this is how it looks today:

moderntumblrThere hasn’t been much of a change. It has been six months since Yahoo bought Tumblr and I think the Tumblr universe has all but forgotten. As a dedicated user, I’m ready to exhale.

Imgur die-hards are worried that Yahoo will turn the site purple and ad exclamation points to everything, but Yahoo isn’t Google. Yahoo isn’t going to try to make users sign up for Yahoo email accounts and join a Yahoo social network in order to post a comment. Yahoo is a peaceful and benevolent overlord, their presence is hardly felt. Trust me Redditors, you will be okay.

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Amanda Dodge