If you’ve ever browsed the pages of Reddit, chances are that many of the links to photos on the threads are hosted by Imgur (pronounced as “imager”). The website touts itself as “The Simple Image Sharer” where users can upload their photos and share it on their favorite social media platform in hopes of getting their photos noticed in Imgur’s own gallery. Because of its no-hassle uploading, it’s been closely tied to Reddit, where those users make up about 40 percent of Imgur’s traffic.
However, Imgur is making significant changes to the user experience starting today, according to the company’s blog. The gallery where users view the most viral photos of the day will now act as the homepage, but the most important change is that they can now upload their submissions to the gallery directly. They can do that by either uploading their photos directly into the server or dragging and dropping their images into the gallery. Also, users can see new uploaded photos in real time as opposed to seeing only the ones that are most viral. The full change will take place Monday.
An Imgur spokesperson told WebProNews that the changes would make memes and images more viral: “Where sharing on Facebook may elicit a handful of likes from your close-knit community, positive or negative feedback from communities where sharing is so deeply engrained, like Reddit and Imgur, can generate tens or hundreds of thousands of responses.”
Changes in uploading photos into Imgur will make the website less dependent on social media sites like Reddit and Facebook. Having users upload directly to the gallery will definitely make Imgur a destination in and of itself. It will also clearly differentiate itself from other free photo upload competitors like Photobucket and TinyPic. People who are active on Imgur can upvote comments and photos in hopes of reaching the hottest images of the day. Think of it now as a photo version of Reddit.
Imgur trying to reinvent itself as a social media destination could lead to it becoming a hub for viral, fascinating images in the way that 9Gag is. Creators should take note that they now have another avenue through which to bring more attention to their work.