In this system, bits of intellectual detritus can generate a following, soar to epic popularity, and become cultural icons of our times. This is one of the factories where memes are made, and where they will continue to thrive. , Pet Holdings, the company behind the I Can Haz Cheezburger Network, has raised more than $30 million in funding and is actively seeking to expand its 50 employee base to help wrangle its growing popularity.
Quick question, how much do you think a picture of a cat is worth? Millions of dollars. Eric Nakagawa, Kari Unebasami, and Ben Huh has parlayed images of kitties with silly captions into an online empire. The I Can Haz Cheezburger Network has over forty linked sites that do one thing and do it extremely well: selling memes. features user generated images of the aforementioned kitties with silly captions. Failblog does the same for public mistakes. My Food Looks Funny...well, that's pretty much self explanatory. These sites are popular. Absurdly so. The I Can Haz Cheezburger Network enjoys 375+ million page views, and 110+ million video views each month - that's in the same league as major news outlets like the New York Times or Huffington Post. More importantly, it features 500,000+ pieces of user generated content - images, graphs, GIFs, videos, etc that the network receives for free, and uses to attract its legion of followers. They have special online tools (such as the LOLbuilder) to help their users craft bits of folly and become contributors.
Cheezburger, which operates about 50 comedy sites including Fail Blog and I Can Haz Cheezburger, had raised $30 million in 2011, and another in December 2012. But as the company struggled to make the transition from desktop to mobile, it in April 2013.
As instrumental as I Can Haz Cheezburger has been, it's just a small piece of a much larger meme-pie. Imageboards (being a notorious example) have organically created hundreds of memes in the course of anything-goes discussions while many content-driven sites try to consciously create the next big meme, knowing that viral sharing can generate millions of page views for little effort. Marketing strategies have arisen around this new kind of 'word of mouth'. YouTube and other video sharing sites can turn everyday people into instant celebrities. Sometimes the payout for these meme-success stories is nothing but passing glory, sometimes it's very tangible profit. Forgive me, but I'm going to share a very annoying video with you that illustrates this concept better than any other in recent memory. It's a little ditty you may have seen before: Rebecca Black's ""...