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Cheezburger is a Seattle-based company founded in 2007 and is home to sites like I Can Has Cheezburger, FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme and Memebase. They are one of the largest social humor sites on the Internet where “millions of people come every day to view, create or remix themes, and share their favorite funny pictures.”
Origins: I Can Has Cheezburger?
I Can Has Cheezburger? (ICHC for short) is the name of a weblog featuring lolcats, which are comical pictures of cats with captions, and other animal images. It was created in 2007 by Eric Nakagawa (Cheezburger), a blogger from Hawaii and his girlfriend, Kari Unebasami (Tofuburger). ICHC was instrumental in bringing animal-based image macros and lolspeak into mainstream usage.
According to Time magazine, a group of investors acquired the website in September 2007 for US $2 million.
ICHC was created on January 11, 2007, when Nakagawa posted an image from Something Awful of a smiling British Shorthair, known as Happy Cat, with a caption of the cat asking, “I can has cheezburger?” in a style popularized by 4chan.
It is from this image that the site derives its name. After posting similar images, Nakagawa then converted the site to a blog.
A network of related sister sites has developed alongside ICHC, called the Cheezburger Network. Seven of these are linked to each other via a navigation bar at the top of each site; These are:
- I Can Has, the original Cheezburger site that features lolcats and other animals.
- ROFLrazzi, making fun of celebrities in general and showing pictures of funny things in show * business.
- FAIL Blog, containing pictures and videos of blatant stupidity or incompetence with captions involving the terms “Fail” and “Epic Fail” prominently, and sometimes “Win” when the word “fail” is incorporated with said stupidity. “Owned” and “Pwned” have been used periodically, but the site itself no longer advertises its support of these images, as they are no longer featured prominently.
- Memebase, collection of trolling based web comics and captioned pictures e.g. troll science, a web comic with various economic and physics based loopholes.
- Geek Universe, a collection of materials that consist of random specific content from Whovians, Bronies, Pokemon Fans, Video Game Enthusiast, and other subcultures.
- Español, a collection of Spanish themed memes.
- Know Your Meme, an encyclopedia themed site that catalogs internet memes for the general knowledge of internet users.
Apart from these sites, other sub-sites exist that focus on specific content. As of 2014, the Cheezburger Network has over 51 sub-sites that it categorizes under the 7 different hubs. Some of these sites are short-lived, and end in failure. One famous example is a Cheezburger site named “Tofulator”, which was a site in which videos are captioned, has not been updated since September 2009. No submissions have been entered as well; this might be because the majority of the videos come from Youtube, and Youtube had launched the feature of captioning a user’s video as of late 2009. Another example is “Probably Bad News”, which depicted funny mistakes in newspapers, but was merged with FAIL Blog. Other sites have an active community such as the “My Little Brony” page.
Know Your Meme Acquisition
The Cheezburger Network bought the popular meme etymology site Know Your Meme on March 28, 2011, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh told CNET. The deal was first reported by Tubefilter, which said that Know Your Meme received a low seven-figure payday.
Know Your Meme has become famous as a place where people can go to learn about the origins of some of the Internet’s most jokes. And that’s precisely why Cheezburger bought it. “Right now, we’re an entertainment destination,” Huh said of the network’s many sites. “A lot of the stuff we show doesn’t have a lot of content…People require context, history, and origins which helps them understand why this is funny or why this isn’t funny. And Know Your Meme was probably doing the best job of that out there.”