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|Type of site||Image gallery, Social network service|
|Owner||Somia Reality Oy|
|Created by||Tomi Lintelä|
IRC-Galleria (Finnish for "IRC gallery") is the largest social networking website in Finland. It was founded in December 2000 by Tomi Lintelä as a photo gallery for the Finnish users of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). As of April 2009, IRC-Galleria has over 500,000 registered users and 9 million images. Over 90% of the users are active users who use the service on a weekly basis. Despite the sites roots nowadays less than 20% of the users have identified themselves as actual users of IRC..
IRC-Galleria is now maintained and developed by Somia Reality Oy, a company founded solely for running IRC-Galleria. The service is financed with advertising, SMS-based services, T-shirts and optional VIP privileges. Sulake Corporation acquired Dynamoid Oy in April 2007. In March 2012, Sulake announced that IRC-Galleria was to be sold to Somia Reality Oy, a company founded by IRC-Galleria's management.
Today IRC-Galleria operates in several countries in Europe e.g. in Russia, Estonia and Germany.
In recent years IRC-Galleria has had several changes to its look, style and presentation. More recently users are presented with half-page adverts (on average netbook screens) which they must scroll past before seeing the actual site. Also either by code or user votes, pictures of tacky/tarty poses of other users are prominently displayed on the pages, diminishing the site's once "friendly" and more pleasant atmosphere. This "sexing up" of IRC-Galleria has caused some users to turn away from the site in search of more moderate and enjoyable social media services.
Despite all the features, IRC-Galleria is basically a photo gallery and it is not possible to have a user account without at least one accepted image. The maximum number of visible images per user is limited but large (10,000 for VIP users, 60 for regular users), and the so-called default image must contain the face of the user.
Communication in IRC-Galleria is based on short messages, comments, each of which is associated with either a picture or a community. Each user can be a member of at most 100 communities. Some of the communities are representations of actual IRC channels, and joining them requires IRC-based identification. Comments are only visible to those who are logged in.