I Can Has Traffic and Muneez?

I Can Has CheezburgerMany Internet users have heard of the the I Can Has Cheezburger (ICHC) blog. The blog provides daily lolcats - cat photographs combined with funny captions written with special lolcats grammar. As the Wikipedia listing describes it an lolcat is "an image macro featuring a photograph of a cat with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption." While many have heard of lolcats and the Cheezburger blog most are popular unaware of the blog's growing traffic and advertising income. RedOrbit says the blog started by Eric Nakagawa now gets 500,000 pageviews daily and runs ads that cost between $500 and $4,000 a week.
He saw traffic on the blog, I Can Has Cheezburger, which he runs with his partner, "Tofuburger" [she refuses to disclose her real name] double each month: 375,000 hits in March, 750,000 in April, 1.5 million in May. Cheezburger now gets 500,000 page views a day from between 100,000 and 200,000 unique visitors, according to Nakagawa. The cheapest ad costs $500 for a week. The most expensive goes for nearly $4,000. Nakagawa, an accidental entrepreneur who saw his successful business materialize out of the ether, quit his programming job at the end of May: "It made more sense to do this and see how big it could get."

Cheezburger's story is unusual in the upper reaches of the blogosphere in that the time between launching and reaching a critical mass of readers who sustain the site is so compressed. But many of the most popular bloggers have similar tales of starting out with a niche idea -- an inside joke, a particular obsession -- and watching it explode. Of course, most blogs linger in obscurity and are read by only a handful of people, and few ever reach the level Cheezburger has. What about a blog like Cheezburger lets it break away from the pack?

The initial appeal of the blog may have been a fluke, but its growth since then has been part of a tightly controlled experiment to help answer that question. Nakagawa and his partner constantly tweak the site to see what draws readers and what leaves them cold.

"We basically have a playground where people keep coming to play, so we're trying to create new games all the time,"Nakagawa says.
The article doesn't disclose ICHC's monthly revenues but in addition to the upfront ads they also run Google AdSense text ads on the blog. The article explains how the authors of ICHC have added new features to the blog to increase traffic. They even added a LOLCAT Buildr that lets people create and submit their own lolcat.

The popular blog has inspired scores of imitators and variations on the lolcat theme. It is unclear how much traffic these other sites are receiving but it is probably less than the I Can Has Cheezburger blog gets. Some of the other blogs include LOL President, LOL Bots, LOL NIN, LOL Trek, lolkottke, lolcats.com, memcats, lolterrorists, lolgay, LOL Tapirs, LOL the News, lolgoth and LOLMaps. There is even a programming language based on the lolcats concept called LOLCode. If you do enough searching you will also run into some O RLY? Owls. There are plenty of ORLY Owls and Lolcats to be found on YouTube as well.

Some interesting posts about lolcats can be found here, here, here and here.

Find the right combination of photographs and amusing captions and maybe you can has traffic and muneez -- at least enough to buy a cheezburger.

Posted on July 16, 2007

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