JibJab Debuts Stand-Up Social Network

Amid a current boom in content sharing social networks, the creators of JibJab on Monday launched an online community for aspiring humorists. Coined JokeBox, the site has been in private beta for three months, during which time roughly 40,000 registered members have flooded the network with over 25,000 written jokes, photos, audio and video files, not to mention personal information and content preferences.

Since establishing a Web presence in 1999, JibJab gained fame with the satirical animated short "This Land," which received 70 million hits during the 2004 presidential election and landed the creators on "The Tonight Show," where they debuted a follow-up short in October 2004. Thanks to this celebrity and an existing opt-in newsletter base of 645,000, JibJab is now poised to give existing content sharing sites like YouTube a run for their money.

"We're scaling really big, but we're going to do it slowly," said Gregg Spiridellis, who co-founded JibJab Media with his brother Evan. "Usually, with the viral videos, it's a sprint for us to get them out to as many people as fast as possible. This project is more like a marathon."

Upon its official launch, JokeBox has the support of hefty partners like Bud Light, which is sponsoring the site with streaming banner ads. Many of the JibJab-created video shorts, which also reside on JokeBox, feature pre-roll advertising from Benadryl and the Suburban Auto Group Ford/Chevy car dealership, among other sponsors.

Notably, JibJab's newsletter base skews older than social networking site like MySpace, according to Spiridellis. Eighty-three percent of its 645,000 members are over 21, while the gender distribution splits evenly, he said.

At a time when content sharing communities like MySpace have come under fire for not effectively policing their networks, Spiridellis has assembled a small army of volunteers, dubbed "The A-Hole Patrol," to keep JokeBox kosher. Members of the force are expected to screen newly submitted jokes, as well as existing jokes that have been flagged as "offensive" by other JibJab members.

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