Failblog is brought up enough in conversation with people roughly my age that I’m pretty sure it’s not too embarrassing for me to publicly admit to reading it. But this still blows my mind: failblog and the associated webpages (hi there, lolcats) are an impressively profitable economic enterprise. How profitable? This post on The Economics of LOLCats has some good detailed information and hard numbers on just how much lolcats is bringing in, but here’s the most impressive statistic:
Now, consider that iCanHasCheezBurger contributes 5% to WordPress.com Unique user traffic, slightly more of its visitor pie. WordPress raised nearly $30,000,000 in financing, so we can losely say LOLCATs are worth 5% of that, or $1,500,000.
And the best part? All of Lolcat and Failblog’s content is produced by the consumers. And they produce it for free. (Somewhere, Marx is rolling in his grave about this flagrant undervaluing of labor…) And further note that these consumers happen to be members of a highly valuable demographic group, and who will quickly snap up any lolcat-related with equal fervor.
Failblog has a clip up giving a tour of the Failblog Headquarters — a spartan wall-less warehouse populated by what looks to be refugees from a Google POW camp — which proves that this isn’t some experimental off-shoot of Time-Warner. It’s just a bunch of kids who sit around all day going, “Hey, you know what people want to see? Funny redneck engineering!” And bam. Another phenomenon is born. All content generated by the internet hivemind.
Technology is amazing. For everyone who thought that the future would bring us flying cars and a cure to cancer, sorry. We got lolcats instead.
To prove that our economy has been taken over by lolcats, note that even Paul Krugman has fallen victim to their tiny kitten chokehold.