Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The Trendiest Trend Tie-Up Ever: With Psy’s Blessing, GifBoom Holds a Gangnam Style GIF Contest

Korean pop sensation Psy has hooked up with the animated-GIF creation app GifBoom for an official Gangnam Style GIF contest.

If that isn’t the perfect distillation of what’s trendy on the Internet right now, I don’t know what is.

The contest is just a small thing; the grand prize money is only $5,000 for the most-liked and most creative GIF (those are the jerky photo loops that play almost anywhere online and are increasingly pervasive) showing people doing Psy’s signature galloping dance moves.

GifBoom, which launched last year, is one of the more popular mobile GIF-creation apps for iPhone and Android. There are multiple millions of active GifBoom users now generating a total of one million GIFs per week, according to founder and CEO Tao Huang.

Huang told AllThingsD he connected with Psy through a friend of a friend, and that engagement around the service has skyrocketed in the past week, as people try to get their friends to vote up their contest submissions.

The top submission, from a kids’ theater group, already has 10,000 likes.

GifBoom is mainly used in the U.S. by young folks between the ages of 13 and 25, Huang said. Though the interface is like Instagram, in a sense, there’s more of a united GifBoom community around the Gangnam contest, and around a previous GIF contest for the Olympics.

The company is based in Seattle, has a team of three former Microsoft engineers, and is angel-funded.

Though GIFs will probably outlast Gangnam, this year’s “Macarena” does seem to have some staying power. “Gangnam Style” now has nearly 360 million views on YouTube, where it is the most-liked video ever, and is holding down the No. 3 song spot on iTunes.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik