Reddit associated image hosting website Imgur has reportedly served up over 3.6 billion pageviews and has registered 56 million unique visitors in December. In an interview with TechCrunch, founder Alan Schaaf revealed that the site was still being run by a team of merely seven people.

The site that started in 2009 from Schaaf’s own dorm room has hit it big in less than three years. According to a post Schaaf wrote on the social news and entertainment site Reddit, he wanted to create an image hosting service “that didn’t suck”. And thus Imgur was born. Along with COO Matt Strader, Schaaf runs the website, which according to Imgur gets over 255 million visits per month with a user spending an average of 11:30 minutes on the site and sees 14 pages every time he visits.

Imgur has become synonymous with viral images and memes that are usually originating from Reddit. The site is indeed the biggest reason behind Imgur’s success story, but according to Schaaf, Imgur is looking at widening its horizons beyond Reddit.

Serving over 56 million unique visitors

Serving over 56 million unique visitors

Schaaf says that while Imgur is synonymous with Reddit, 40 percent of pageviews are now coming to the site directly. The founders attributed this rise in numbers to Imgur’s gallery feature that debuted in October.

Schaaf says that he wants Imgur to become a destination site for all viral memes and images just like YouTube has become a go-to site for videos. Imgur might be looking at content creation tools from within the site to drive up visitor numbers to the site, which could essentially mean meme generators as well as GIF generators could come soon to Imgur. Currently, Imgur only offers basic editing facilities to users.

Imgur is also planning on releasing its official mobile app this month. Given Imgur’s popularity and API, there are apps that already provide Imgur on mobile phones while the company only officially provided for a mobile website. 

While the company has run image-based campaigns for several movies like Sacha Baron-Cohen’s The Dictator on the website, it will not be accepting outside investment in any other form than advertising. Schaaf says it’s a matter of pride that they’ve managed to keep Imgur independent yet. The advertisements will still be flowing though.

Reddit has been used not just as a launch-pad for services, but has also been used to kick-start several careers and campaigns. One important campaign that sent the web world into a tizzy was Barack Obama hosting an ‘AMA’ – ‘Ask Me Anything’ – session with Redditors.

Just before the Presidential elections in the United States kicked off, Obama offered to answer questions put forth by Reddit users from all around the world. Questions ranging from politics to the upcoming elections, predicaments of students looking for jobs post-graduation and Internet freedom were all posed to Obama, who went on to answer them.

The President of the Unites states interacted with the site users for over half an hour and appealed to them to go out and vote on the day of the elections, and described his experience as ‘Not Bad’ referring to a meme of himself made famous by Reddit.

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