April 26, 2016
Anchored in their humble beginnings, it’s interesting to observe how startups gain traction, celebrate their successes at the peak, and then frantically scramble to stay relevant as growth tapers off. From there, most companies either gradually fade away or rapidly spiral to their deaths.
I came across this case study of the startup lifecycle by /u/SuperConductiveRabbi, especially illuminating coming from a once-loyal user rather than an academic outsider.
== begin excerpt ==
Imgur has followed the lifecycle of every single online service:
Imgur hosted your images without requiring you to log in (unlike PhotoBucket, ImageShack, and whatever other services we used in the dark ages). Pages loaded super fast. You could click an image and get the raw image URL. That was it.
== end ==
Take into consideration this redditor’s perspective, because it is relevant and true. But true only for the customer segment he represents—the techie early adopter. Imgur is different now and not the same simple, pure image hosting service it once was. However, it still remains wildly popular on reddit itself, and is now even a mainstream social media platform for the masses.
So whether imgur is in its “autumn years” is debatable, and arguably not true. It depends on the lens you view it through and how you define success. For this reddit user and others like him, yes they are probably boycotting the service now and moving onto something else.
For the rest, imgur has grown up to become a widely used popular brand, and has figured out how to scale.