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Photobucket: Powering Social Networks Everywhere

  • Fortune, Thursday, March 29, 2007 1:15 PM
You may not know it, but Photobucket is one of the Web's most influential sites, says Fortune's David Kirkpatrick. "Unpretentiously, it has built an essential service that didn't need to shout out for attention, the way MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, or other related sites have." It's growth numbers are remarkable: 38 million members, up from just 50,000 at the end of 2003, growing at an average rate of 80,000 new members per day.

What is Photobucket? The place where your photos live-the Web site is a kind of aggregator that allows you to link your photos to other user-generated content sites, like a blog, a video sharing site, or a social networking profile. The most links go to MySpace; other biggies include Facebook, Xanga and Friendster.

So what's so special about Photobucket? "We're fad-proof," explains CEO Alex Welch. If MySpace becomes un-cool, users have their photos all in one bucket to splash onto the next social network. Because of this, the company depends on large social networks, without being tied to any particular one. "We focus very much on not being a community," Welch says. "We let the communities build around us."



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