Imgur, the bad-boy alter ego of glossy image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest, announced today that it plans to introduce a new native ad program early next year, the startup’s first major attempt to cash in on its young, engaged audience.
The site, which raised a massive $40 million Series A from Reddit and Andreessen Horowitz in April, needs to prove that it can make money with its audience of 140 million. Today LinkedIn and Pinterest veteran Steve Patrizi joined the team, with the goal of convincing big brands to get on board and learn their memes.
Brands like UPS and Tesla have been testing the Imgur waters, but ads on the site remain few and far between. “In the testing we’ve done so far with brands, users have responded well, with a 9-1 ration of upvotes to downvotes,” Patrizi tells The Verge. He’s optimistic that Imgur’s high engagement will help brands overcome their reservations about content like “horny 14-year-olds” (a tag on the Imgur homepage at time of writing) and lesbian make-out cartoons. “We’re looking for a group of marketers who are willing to spend some time learning the service and the community to make this work.”
[h/t: The Verge]