Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is apparently watching popular simple image sharing startup Imgur closely, and she may even be trying to acquire it, according to a Business Insider post that cites an anonymous source.
But while Yahoo has acquired tons of smaller startups over the last year, Imgur might be a much harder nut to crack. That’s because the site is extremely popular, with over 100 million unique monthly visitors and growing. It’s also profitable, although it’s hard to say how much the company is making. And probably most importantly, Imgur doesn’t have (nor has it ever had) any outside investors. So, with steady growth, no investors to answer to, and enough profit to sustain the company for the foreseeable future, Imgur’s founders can hold out for a very favorable acquisition price.
If you’re a frequent browser of community news site Reddit, then you already know that Imgur is the preferred image hosting site for all submissions. The startup launched years ago by then-Reddit-user and Ohio University student Alan Schaaf (aka MrGrimm) after Reddit user’s complained there was no simple service that let you host images. Since then, Schaaf has relocated Imgur to San Francisco. And while content hosted on Imgur certainly gives the Reddit community plenty to discuss, Imgur now has its own community of self-labeled Imgurians. Imgur also has plenty of features that cater to that community, such as a meme generator, messaging service, and front page of popular submissions.
“Honestly, I could care less about business development,” Schaaf told VentureBeat in a previous interview. “As long as we continue to bring in more traffic, I’m much more concerned with building a good user experience and developing tools that will help grow the Imgur community of users.”
So, while Imgur isn’t a household name like Twitter or Facebook, it’s still plenty valuable. But why exactly would Yahoo want to buy it?
Well, besides the fact that it’s a smart company with lots of traction, Imgur also has plenty of influence across all the major social networks, including Reddit. The Imgur team could help Yahoo figure out how to make both Imgur and Yahoo-owned Flickr a more social site that’s appealing to the generation of people who prefer Instagram, too. But whatever the endgame is for Yahoo, having Imgur on board would be a good thing.
We’re reaching out to both Yahoo and Imgur for further comment and will update this post with any additional information.