The Imgur front page on July 20, 2013
|Type of site||image hosting service|
|Created by||Alan Schaaf|
|Launched||February 23, 2009|
|Alexa rank||51 (April 2014[update])|
Imgur (pronounced like image-er; imager. and stylized as imgur) is an online image hosting service founded by Alan Schaaf in 2009 in Athens, Ohio. Imgur describes itself as "the home to the web's most popular image content, curated in real time by a dedicated community through commenting, voting and sharing." It offers free image hosting to millions of users a day, and a comment-based social community. The company supports itself with revenue generated from ad sales, Pro accounts, commercial hosting and merchandise.
On October 22, 2012, Imgur released a user-submitted gallery, which allows users to submit directly to the Imgur gallery for public view, comments and votes.
On June 26, 2013, Imgur released its first content creation tool, the Imgur Meme Generator, which offers simple meme creation as well as a public gallery of popular meme templates.
The official Imgur mascot is the Imguraffe, which was created originally as an April Fools' Day joke, but was "too cute to give up", thereby becoming the official mascot.
The company was started in Athens, Ohio as Alan Schaaf's side project as he attended Ohio University for computer science. The service, which the creator describes as "an image hosting service that doesn't suck", was created as a response to the usability problems encountered in similar services. Originally designed as a gift to the online community of Reddit, it took off almost instantly, jumping from a thousand hits per day to a million total page views in the first five months. The website became widely recognized following its rise to popularity on social news websites such as Reddit and Digg.
In the beginning, Imgur relied on donations to help with the web hosting costs. As the site grew, it needed additional sources of revenue to keep up with demand. Display ads were introduced in May 2009; sponsored images and self-service ads were introduced in 2013.
In April 2014, 5 years after it was founded, Imgur raised $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, along with a small contribution from Reddit. Besides the large investment, Andreessen Horowitz’s Lars Dalgaard will join Imgur’s board. 
April Fools' Jokes
Imgur has a history of playing April Fools' jokes on its users. The first documented joke in 2011 was the Catification feature, which allowed users to automatically add cats to any image with one click. In 2012, Imgur introduced the Imguraffe. The "simple Imguraffe sharer" version included a giraffe print background and a giraffe with a top hat and monocle in the logo. In 2013, as an April Fools' Day joke, the site announced the ability to upload images using traditional snail mail, to "appeal to a broad user base which includes film users, the computer illiterate, and those afraid of radiation from scanners." This was ultimately honored by the site's administrators who subsequently uploaded images which had been sent from users via the postal service. In 2014, as an April Fool's Day joke, Imgur introduced the viralizer, a comment generator which automatically posted generic comments generally unrelated to the image being commented on.
In its first month, Imgur saw 93,000 pageviews. According to EdgeCast, Imgur's former CDN, Imgur serves more images in 10 minutes than there are in the entire Library of Congress. In 2012, there were 300 million images uploaded, 364 billion image views counted, and 42 petabytes of data transferred.
Site statistics current as of June 2013:
|1,002,000 images uploaded daily|
|3,479,646,270 monthly pageviews|
|70,808,320 unique visitors|
In September 2012, Imgur sent out 3,000 free stickers based on user requests.
The following image file types can be uploaded: JPEG, PNG, GIF, APNG, TIFF, BMP, PDF, and XCF (GIMP). Images can be public or private. Images on the site are not retained indefinitely. If an image submitted by a user with a free account is not accessed at least once during a six-month period, it will be deleted. Images can be uploaded via clipboard, via computer, via web or via drag-and-drop.
Albums were introduced on October 11, 2010. Album layouts are fully customizable and embeddable.
On January 9, 2010, Alan Schaaf announced the creation of Imgur accounts, which allow users to create custom image galleries and manage their images. Accounts allow full image management including editing, deletion, album creation and embedding, as well as the ability to comment on viral images and submit to the public gallery. Gallery profiles give the user the ability to view their past public activity. If an account has more than 225 images, only the most recently uploaded 225 are displayed in their profile. Paid pro accounts were created in 2010 to remove these limitations and allows infinite image storage, as well as increased upload limits.
The public Imgur gallery is a collection of the most viral images from around the web based on an algorithm that computes views, shares and votes based on time. As opposed to private account uploads, images added to the gallery are publicly searchable by title. Members of the Imgur community, self-proclaimed "Imgurians," can vote and comment on the images, earning reputation points and trophies. Images from the gallery are often later posted to social news sites such as Huffington Post. Random mode was released on July 30, 2012 and allows users to browse the entire history of the public gallery randomly.
The official Imgur mobile app for Android debuted on June 24, 2013, with an official iPhone app following later. The mobile app offers all site features.
- "Imgur.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "How do you pronounce Imgur?". Imgur.com. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Cultra, Shane (November 30, 2009). "Meet Alan Schaaf: Creator, Designer, Coder of One of the Fastest Growing Sites on the Net: Imgur.com". DomainShane.com. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Tech Tuesday Takeover: Self-Serve Ads. http://imgur.com/blog/2013/05/28/tech-tuesday-takeover-self-serve-ads/
- Schaaf, Alan (February 23, 2009). "My Gift to Reddit: I created an image hosting service that doesn't suck. What do you think?". Reddit. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
- Quigley, Robert (January 13, 2010). "Viral Sensation In One Year: A Q&A With Imgur Founder Alan Schaaf". Mediaite. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Imgur's Startup Journey. http://imgur.com/blog/2012/05/15/imgurs-startup-journey-infographic/
- Smith, Jack. "Imgur Gets $40 Million Investment From Andreessen Horowitz". BetaBeat.
- Perez, Sarah April 3 2014. Techcrunch. "After Five Years Of Bootstrapping, Imgur Raises $40 Million From Andreessen Horowitz & Reddit"
- Catify Your Images! http://imgur.com/blog/2011/04/01/catify-your-images/
- Introducing the Imguraffe! http://imgur.com/blog/2012/03/31/introducing-the-imguraffe/
- "Upload via Snail Mail". Imgur.com. April 1, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- "How long do you keep the images?". Imgur.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- "The Imgur Meme Generator". Imgur.com. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013.