4chan Just Sold to the Founder of the Original ‘Chan’

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4chan Just Sold to the Founder of the Original ‘Chan’.

4chan, one of the Internet’s most infamous web forums, has a new owner. The influential and controversial message board 4chan has been sold to Japanese web entrepreneur-turned-magazine editor Hiroyuko Nishimura for an undisclosed sum, it was announced today.In a move that brings 4chan “full circle,” founder Christopher Poole sold the popular anonymous message board to Hiroyuki Nishimura, he announced Monday. “Hiroyuki is a pioneer in the world of anonymous communities, and can be thought of as the great-grandfather of 4chan,” Poole wrote, noting Nishimura created his site’s anime- and manga-focused predecessor, 2Channel. “None of us would be using 4chan today — or potentially any anonymous image board — if it weren’t for him.” Though 4chan also focused specifically on Japanese pop culture when it launched in 2003, in recent years it has been best known for the hoaxes and pranks its users often orchestrate. Christopher Poole, who founded 4chan in 2003 as a teenager and saw it grow into a major player in digital culture, is selling 4chan to Japanese message board founder Hiroyuki Nishimura. Today 4chan founder Christopher “moot” Poole announced that the anonymous image sharing site 4chan, which he created when he was just 15, was acquired by Hiroyuki Nishimura.

The site now sees more than 20 million visitors each month, a feat Poole accomplished without help from full-time employees or venture capital, The New York Times reports. With posts on the site lasting only a matter of days or even hours before they are deleted, the message board has been described as the collective id of the Internet, home to hardcore pornography, hardcore cooking tips and everything in between. In January 4chan’s founder, Chris Poole – who goes by the username Moot – announced he was stepping down as administrator of the site, and in a news post on Monday he announced the sale of the site to Nishimura. He said that he and Nishimura were “fast friends” who had bonded “over our shared passion for creating and managing online communities”. “He is one of few individuals with a deep understanding of what it means to provide a digital home for tens of millions of people for more than a decade. The two sites share a similar culture of taking down links that break the law – sometimes just minutes but often hours after they are posted – while continuing to protect the ability for anyone to post anything anonymously.

His creation of 2channel in 1999 sparked an era of anonymous-centric web culture in Japan that led to the creation of Futaba Channel, the site that inspired 4chan. There is nobody more qualified than Hiroyuki to lead 4chan, and I can’t think of a person better suited for the task,” Poole’s statement continued. “4chan sits on the eve of two great milestones – its 2 billionth post and 12th birthday. It also means 4chan’s laissez-fair, let’s-all-cum-on-anime-figurines-and-phone-in-bomb-threats-to-high-schools ethos probably won’t change—in a 2008 profile in Wired, Nishimura appeared as committed as Moot to letting bad shit happen on his website: Nishimura has lost about 50 lawsuits and owes millions of dollars in penalties, which he has no intention of paying. “If the verdict mandates deleting things, I’ll do it,” he says. “I just haven’t complied with demands to pay money.

Would a cell phone carrier feel responsible when somebody receives a threatening phone call?” 4channers seem unusually pleased with the news, and the use of racial slurs against Nishimura is so far minimal: “This is the best thing that could have happened honestly,” commented one user. “At least it’s someone we know has experience.” Another asked “are we honorary japs now?” Among other things, it was the birthplace of the Anonymous hacktivist movement, which spread from a campaign against Scientology to a broad umbrella that can cover everything from anti-surveillance protests to hacks of major security companies. And if you’ve ever been rickrolled, you have 4chan to blame. 2channel, an anonymous text-based Internet forum, has been similarly influential in Japan and, in fact, though it may be less of a household name in America, it is actually more popular worldwide according to Alexa, a site that measures web site popularity across the world. Whether that approach will work with 4chan users, or whether Western advertisers will be willing to associate themselves with the site, remains to be seen. ® Along with 4chan, these sites have become breeding grounds for modern web culture and viral imagery, the fodder that new media sites like BuzzFeed have used to grow enormously in a short amount of time. 4chan is a fraction of the size of some of its competitors.

Poole, who in the months before his departure trained others to take over the site, which he had planned to sell. “I can treat it more like a business by bringing people on, giving them responsibility and training them.” The question for 4chan, Reddit and other sites of this ilk is whether they can scale into booming, profitable businesses that live up to the potential many see in them. While sites like these draw enormous amounts of traffic, many do not track their users to serve targeted advertising, an approach that many marketers have gravitated toward since the rise of Facebook and Google.

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