I'm here at the Washington Technology Industry Association's technology showcase in Seattle, which just wrapped up, and managed to catch a minute with Seattle local Ben Huh of icanhascheezburger fame. Huh is the CEO of Pet Holdings, which owns the ring of sites that surround icanhascheezburger, including Failblog, Engrish Funny, and not-quite-as-funny-as-lolcats-site Loldogs.
Huh's five-minute pitch to the audience was simply an overview of the company, the same one Huh has done at other shows. However, this one came with updated information about the growth of the site's video viewership, which now tops 80 million video playbacks each month. Huh says that's getting monetized "soon," which likely means users will be able to upload their videos directly to the service and have it playback in a branded player with integrated advertising. As it stands, most of those videos are making money at the sites where they're hosted, like on YouTube where the Failblog ranks No. 2 in comedy and No. 12 all time.
I caught up with Huh for five quick questions:
Q: When are cats not funny?
Huh: When people are forcing them to do things...with the exception of Keyboard cat.
Q: Have you been getting noticeably more submissions since the advent of iPhone apps that let people create ready-made photos for the site?
Huh: No, we haven't. We're working on doing it to our own app, but it's not fully done yet. We have an API though. It's actually pretty fleshed out. It's for putting captions on photos through mine.icanhascheezburger.com/api. There's an Android app that used it. Soon we'll have a paid version and ad-supported version (of the iPhone app).
Q: Ever gotten takedown requests from celebrities or politicians?
Huh: No, we have not. We have gotten them for cat pictures we have authorized. People understand it's good fun.
Q: Which of the sites has seen the most growth?
Huh: Fail blog has seen the most growth. It's kind of surprising