Icanhascheezburger, of course.
Don’t get me wrong. I tune in every day, just like the other ten thousand readers, to be tickled and amused by Icanhascheezburger’s particular brand of comedic wit. Even though they sell advertising space and merchandise. Perhaps foolishly I convinced myself that the cash coming in from those things was going toward paying WordPress for things such as dedicated domain name, extra bandwidth, and so on.
And fair’s far, Icanhascheezburger make no pretence. They make it quite clear that you, the reader, puts all the effort in. You create their content, you post it, and you vote on other people’s posted content to see which fortunate LOLer makes it to the hallowed halls of the front page.
But now Icanhascheezburger has landed itself a book deal, with an undisclosed advance (likely to be in six figures). And it’s done it with content created not by the site’s owners and managers, but by it’s readers. That’s you. And if you’re lucky, your LOLcat may appear in the book, which you can pay an as-yet unknown amount to buy a copy of.
Blogs becoming books is nothing new, of course. In the past we’ve had Belle de Jour (leading to The Secret Diary of a Call girl), Random Acts of Reality (Blood, Sweat and Tea), and the wildly successful Freakonomics (spawning not only a book of the same name, but a promotion to becoming an NY Times blog). And in the same press release we hear of the fantastically funny Stuff White People Like also getting a book deal (with a definite six-figure advance attached).
All those blogs have something Icanhascheezburger does not, though. They generated their own content. Belle de Jour was created as an expose (fictional or not, I’m not here to debate that) of a London call-girl, by a single writer purporting to be reporting her own experiences. Random Acts of Reality features the daily exploits of a London E.M.T. and exposes all facets of life in an Ambulance in one of the world’s largest cities. Stuff White People Like is a regular dose of mockery by white people for anyone with a sense of humour about the weirdness of Western society, again written by the site’s creators and owners.
It’s one thing to provide content for someone else’s site for free, if that site isn’t profiting from your generosity and creativity. But once they start making money from your work, you should get paid. It’s that simple.
Of course, I could be wrong. ICHC could be tracking down each and every succesful contributor right now and offering them a cut of the profits.
Yep. I’m sure that’s what they’re doing.
Definately not laughing all the way to the bank.