Imgur, a popular image-sharing platform, has recently announced that it has been acquired by MediaLab, a Santa Monica-based firm.
MediaLab describes itself as a “holding company of consumer internet brands and owns a number of internet services and B-list tech, including Kik and Whisper, Genius, and WorldStarHipHop.
Imgur, claims that they currently have some 300 million users, says that this move will help them “keep the main Imgur team focused on what we do best: creating the best place for community-powered entertainment online.”
In a company blog post, they said “Imgur’s journey is far from over.” Adding that MediaLab is committing to “investing more resources in engineering and community.”
However, it’s still unclear what exactly the acquisition means for the future but it’s hard to read this as positive news.
MediaLab isn’t explicit about its business model, but it mainly focuses on acquiring ailing brands with stagnant, but sizable, communities. Presumably, their goal is to bundle up the traffic of all the sites together to sell ads or data, while cutting costs by keeping the sites running.
For example, earlier this month, the once-hyped Genius was bought by MediaLab for a total valuation of $80 million. Similarly, Kik and Whisper, once-hot properties, have now faded from prominence.
Founded in 2009, Imgur’s journey has been a strange ride in itself. It was founded as a “gift to Reddit,” and through the years its fortunes have risen and fallen along with this partnership.
In 2016, Reddit decided to host solo image uploads, and Imgur began to form a standalone online community in response. Imgur went on to copy several popular Reddit features including comment threads, upvotes and downvotes, and focused communities.
The site has been compared to other image-hosting services, such as Twitpic, but has lasted longer on its own strengths. In the past few years, the company successfully launched new features like an ad-free subscription service.
Imgur’s blog post announcing the acquisition reads: “It’s been an absolute honor to create this corner of the internet alongside this incredible community” — though the company insists its “journey is far from over.”