Gifs, man! They’re trending harder than Jennifer Lawrence right now, but that doesn’t mean that finding them is the easiest thing in the world. That’s why Giphy, a startup that launched out of betaworks last month, is rolling out new tools to build out its library of awesome, high-quality gifs.
See, Giphy is a gif search engine. It lets you search by keyword for any gif you could possibly want, and then saves load time and keeps things snappy by only playing the gif once you hover over one of the results. But sourcing the gifs you want is just the first step in organizing the community, which is the true goal behind Giphy.
That said, the startup is today rolling out private artist accounts, which will bake attribution right into the gifs they create. The team has been looking for some of the most prominent gif creators and artists out there, and has chosen twelve to give private artists accounts.
As it stands now, there are hundreds of thousands of gifs floating around the internet. Most of them end up on a tumblr somewhere, while others are created and shared through dozens of other platforms. But when you come upon a great gif, perhaps on #Whatshouldwecallme, do you ever think about the dude that created said gif? Probably not, but you should.
It would be like not thinking of Rhianna every time you heard the song “Umbrella.”
“What we’re seeing in the beginning of organizing the community,” said founder Jace Cooke. “We want to give these folks a home and connect them to publishers and brands. This will give them a following in a way that will help them monetize their work.”
But artists profiles are only the first step in organizing the gif community. Giphy is also building out an API, which will be open in the next couple weeks. This lays the groundwork for Giphy to be used in other interesting applications as the gif craze heats up. According to betaworks, the Giphy API has received much more demand than the company has decided yet to meet, as they’re figuring out the best way to roll out access to the platform.
The third and final goal at the moment is for Giphy to create stronger relationships with publishers who are using gifs for their content. Giphy has an automatic embed code for each gif, which publishers can use on their own sites. It’s simple, but these relationships are crucial in elevating gif artists on a pedestal where they can reach brands and monetize their work.
As it stands now, private artists accounts are being rationed out at Giphy’s discretion.
But what about the competition? Well, Giphy doesn’t have much competition outside of the wide world of tumblr gifs. But even with the newfound focus on creation (re: artists accounts), Giphy doesn’t see much of a threat in Vine or Cinemagram or any of the other user-generated gif makers.
“There’s a nice social component to services like Vine and Instagram, but the validity of image on Instagram is pretty limited outside of a circle of friends,” said Cooke. It’s pretty rare for a Vine or Cinemagram to surpass being valid to friends and be an interesting piece of media in their own right.”
That said, Giphy will continue to focus on high-level gif creation that provides content that’s accessible to a large majority of people on the internet, as opposed to needing social context.
Expect big things from this one, guys. Gifs aren’t going anywhere soon, and Giphy has made itself the portal.