How was that possible? This kind of growth can just happen if you create some kind of viral project that becomes a hype. This kind of cases succeed when they are one of the first movers in a new market: a complete new and successful approach of satisfying a need.
If you are a 9gag or Imgur user you will probably know that between them there are huge rivalities. Their users based kind of share some soft hate towards each other online. Around the net you can find a lot of discussions about what’s the difference between both image commenting social networks but in this post I will focus on what’s similar among them. Why? Because you will see that their business models are pretty similar.
[highlight color="grey"]Link to proof success:[/highlight]
The successful business model behind 9gag, a well written analysis of this venture done by Jay from Cosmoreport.com. It looks like an Entrepreneurship blog that is starting with really high standards of quality. I liked it
Briefly said 9gag is kind of a niche social network. The whole point why it got that big is that they targeted a huge niche with clear needs: young people that want to see and share funny stuff. If you have read the Facebook and the Twitter analysis I made few days ago, you will have discovered that social networks fix several needs at the same time. Despite being niche 9gag too: users are attached to the 9gag community and they create and share things. This would cover the fundamental human needs of leisure, participation, creation, identity and affection.
In Maslow’s words, that would be the needs of esteem, psychological and love and belonging. As you can see, that would be a real synergyc satisfier.
The founders realised that people on the internet just want to have fun, browse around and share things. 9gag made a very clear, easy to share, viral ready website that easily catched up among the users. On top of that, all the images that belong to 9gag social network keep a watermark of the site when shared. This caused some kind of viral branding strategy that drove this company to quick success. Good product well promoted.
Ads, that is it. It is usually said an online business should not be started if you do not have other business model than displaying banners. This is true when the variable costs of generating relevant content for your users are high. In most of the social network cases content is user generated and shared so the company does not really have to hire much people to create this lots of relevant content so variable costs are low so the company could be viable just with ads.
Obviously it is always nice not to put all your expectations in one source of Revenue. Facebook and Twitter are going towards that way. Maybe 9gag should start thinking about it with stuff like meme mugs and other kinds of merchandise.
Entrepreneurship and business development are two subjects which I am fascinated about. I like to analyse business models of companies.
About me: I consider myself proactive and rational. I think maybe too much. I am a Catalan in Amsterdam working in Online Marketing at Improve Digital.