One of the biggest on-going arguments on the Internet revolves around “share” sites such as Reddit, Funny Junk, and 9GAG. They make their money by users uploading funny stuff found on the Internet… regardless of copyright and often without credit to the original, depending on the situation. Occasionally one of these sites gets into it with a content creator, with predictably hilarious results.
9GAG is one of the more popular. It’s raised $2.8 million in funding, has an iPhone app on the way and — according to a Redditor’s carefully researched and backed up post — is built almost entirely on raiding sites like Reddit and Quickmeme, and then faking the post data to make it look like a 9GAG original instead of something they copied.
This isn’t just sour grapes, either. The aforementioned post in the 4Chan subreddit is actually a fairly damning work that reverse engineers the entire process. The key aspect of the report, written by 9F**_EXPERT, is that 9GAG is essentially a plagiarism machine run by actual human.
The basic process is this: Find a funny image on Reddit, carefully crop out any watermarks, and post it to 9GAG with a fake time. The really sad part is that this is some poor bastard’s job; the report demonstrates repeatedly that none of this stuff can be done by robots:
9GAG does not have automated scripts which steal your submissions. Everything is done by humans. I don’t know who came up with that idea that they made scripts, because it’s just wrong. They have hired people to browse the biggest subreddits (such as /r/pics, /r/funny, /r/gaming, /r/wtf, /r/aww, /r/f7u12, /r/adviceanimals, /r/videos) and steal content. Day for day.
Well… we guess it’s good 9GAG is creating jobs. The real question is what they’ll do now that it’s been made clear that they can’t cover their tracks anymore.