Peter Kafka

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Vimeo Gets Its Own GIF App by Buying Echograph

echographDigital media question of the moment: What’s your GIF strategy?

I don’t know why the digital hive mind has fixated on GIFs and GIF-like animations in the last year, and I don’t know how much longer they’ll be interested in them. But for now, they are.

So here’s Vimeo’s answer: Echograph. IAC’s video site has bought the app, which lets users turn videos into short animations, from owner Clear-Media. Included in the deal are several Clear-Media employees, including CEO Nick Alt, who will become head of Vimeo’s mobile group.

This deal sounds a bit like the one Twitter worked out with Vine last year: They are picking up talent and technology, but they’re also going to get a standalone app. Echograph has been selling for $2.99 a pop, but Vimeo says the app will now be free. Vimeo isn’t disclosing a price for the Echograph deal, but my hunch is that they picked this one up for a relatively modest price, in the single-digit millions.

Creating an Echograph from Nick Alt on Vimeo.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work