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The First Six Weeks

On a Friday afternoon, February 1st, Alex Chung and I pushed Giphy live.   After a month of weekends cobbling together a prototype, we planned to share the site with a dozen folks, solicit feedback, and see if the idea merited any more of our time.

A few Twitter mentions and within an hour, the site was spreading well beyond our friends and traffic began pouring in.  Within two hours, we were forced to upgrade our servers.  Within four hours, we were featured on Gizmodo and Mashable.  We scrambled to add Google Analytics and Chartbeat.  The servers melted a second time.  Alex spent a sleepless night trying to keep the site online.

On Tuesday morning (90 hours later) we incorporated Giphy LLC and were convinced to become a full-time Betaworks project.  Within a week we moved to Amazon hosting and S3, while serving over a million pageviews.  By the end of the second week we’d assembled a fantastic team including Nick, Jess, and Jessey.  By the end of the first month, we’d served over 15 terabytes of animated GIFs.

It’s no coincidence GIF search has taken so long to materialize: the associated metadata is poor to non-existent, and so in our second month we’ve turned our energies to building a much more powerful web crawler, creating mass editing tools to scrub and update tags, and designing a taxonomy to organize all the data we ingest and help create.  The improvements will be significant, and we look forward to rewarding your patience soon.

And search is really just the beginning.  Moving forward, we don’t view Giphy as a utility but rather a nascent community, a vibrant, data-rich platform for creating, curating, remixing, and sharing GIFs.  

Here’s to an animated future.