If you’re a social media user, you would most likely have stumbled across the viral website 9GAG. And for those who are addicted to it (the 9Gaggers), the feeling would have transcended to a love-hate relationship at some point. And we all understand. It’s entertaining. The only problem is, it’s time wasting as well. So, is it a glorious creation or a soul-sucking black hole? Whichever you think it is, here are 5 fun facts about the website:
1. 9GAG is a Hong Kong-based site
With 45.8 million Instagram followers, 9GAG is one of the largest media entertainment brands on Instagram globally. While it is popular on American and European social networks Europe (notably Germany), 9GAG was co-founded by a group of 5 students from University of Hong Kong, namely Ray Chan, Chris Chan (who is Ray’s younger brother), Derek Chan, Marco Fung and Brian Yu.
2. It was started to answer one question
And that is, how to find funny pictures. As unbelievable as it is, 9GAG has built a successful business out of wasting people’s time. Initially, the company was founded under a “Just for Fun” mentality. Ray and his co-founders only shared 9GAG among their friends but traffic gradually started arriving from beyond their circle. At the same time, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter were taking off, and users began sharing content they’d found on 9Gag on those platforms.
3. 9GAG was started with USD 1270
In 2008, the five friends pulled together USD 1270 to start 9GAG as a side project to their day jobs. For one, Ray (the current CEO of 9GAG) was working as a project manager at an online community for book lovers and experimenting with other ideas in his spare time. By 2012, the site got so big, it was clearly no longer a side project. Chris, who was working at a fast-food chain at the time went full-time at 9GAG first, followed by Ray. Derek, Marco and Brian joined incrementally afterwards. After quitting their jobs, the next step is to figure out how 9GAG could make money.
4. It has 10 million unique viewers every day, from all over the world
In 2012, it launched iOS and Android apps and its official social media accounts. It also began running ads on the site which have become its biggest source of revenue. The team also flew to Silicon Valley and raised USD 2.8 million in funding from 22 investors. It hired its first employee in 2013 and today it has 30 employees in Hong Kong and New York. And since then, it has 20,000 pieces of content created daily by its users.
5. 9GAG’s best advice is to NOT copy anyone else success
When launching a business, one of the biggest questions for entrepreneurs can be when to take the leap and quit their day job. For some, it’s all about jumping right in with a “carpe diem” approach, while others prefer to dip their toes in more slowly. Of course, it’s right for young entrepreneurs to look to others for advice early on in their careers, but it’s more important to know that there can be a trapping in following others too closely. The idea is not to emulate the success of tech icons like Bill Gates and Jack Ma. Instead, carve your own path in your own time.