[Update: Dump.fm cofounder Ryder Ripps emailed to say that CNet’s screenshot was from dump.fm, and that there is no relationship between dump.fm and Poole’s new company.]
The young proprietor of the Internet’s politically incorrect meme generator 4chan appears to be starting a real company.
My office network automatically blocks 4chan, the image-based message board founded in 2003 by 15-year-old Christopher Poole, known better by his handle “moot.” That’s because 4chan is full of stuff not considered socially acceptable even in San Francisco.
4chan isn’t pornographic, it’s deliberately as sick as possible. The guy who posted photos of cat torture wasn’t using Photoshop. He was arrested.
Yet not-safe-for-work 4chan has been cited by Internet historians as the source of many popular twisted online fads, or memes — lolcats, Rickrolling, Chocolate Rain — and many much more deliberately creepy ones.
Poole, now 22, told TED conference attendees in February that 4chan gets 700,000 posts daily. Not pageviews, but 700,000 individual posts by members. He estimates 7 million monthly visitors. As for making money, Poole told TED host Chris Anderson, “The commercial picture is that there really isn’t one.” Pressed to explain how he gets by, he told the Times, “The site breaks even, and I do some odd jobs.”
So it’s a watershed moment that Poole has filed SEC paperwork that reports $625,000 in funding for a company called Canvas Networks. Poole told the New York Times last month that he was “working on a new project to reimagine what an image board should be today using the current technologies available.”
CNet obtained an alleged mockup of Poole’s new site, which a source said will live at the domain canv.as, recently purchased by Poole. Moot himself hasn’t responded to reporters or to 4chan members yet to talk about his company. But if he’s indeed building a newer, commercialized form of 4chan, if nothing else his startup ambitions are sure to generate some sick, sick laughs.
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