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Image sharing app Imgur wants meme creators to get paid for their content and is setting up the infrastructure to make it happen.
The company announced Wednesday that it has received a $20 million investment from San Francisco-based start-up Coil, which runs a micropayment tool that helps creators monetize their content.
Imgur, which boasts more than 300 million monthly users, will integrate Coil into its service and pay creators for every second their memes are viewed.
Users will pay a small monthly fee to Coil, install the company’s browser extension, and then support their favorite meme lords merely by viewing their creations. TechCrunch reports that creators will be paid at a rate of 36 cents per hour, with Imgur and Coil receiving a cut of the earnings as well.
Founder and CEO of Imgur Alan Schaaf described the new project as a continuation of the company’s core value: to “give more than we take.”
“Everything from the way we operate as a team to the ways in which we partner with brands is built around this core value of giving to the community,” Schaaf said. “Coil’s technology will open up new opportunities for users to give to one another and support the community in new ways.”
Imgur stresses, however, that the new subscription-style service will not negatively affect its millions of non-paying users.
“We’re in the business of making the internet better,” Schaaf said. “We do not plan on taking anything away for the community.”
If the partnership proves to be successful, the model could spread to other social media sites and provide content creators with a new way to make money that isn’t based on ad revenue.
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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.