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9.24.2008

ben huh has cheezburger

The Los Angeles Times has a profile on web entrepreneur Ben Huh, who has built an unlikely mini-empire with the online LOLcats craze, anchored by the ridiculously popular I Can Has Cheezburger. Funny photos and badly misspelled captions. Who'd a thunk it? It's like printing money: His kitty site became a caboodle.

His network of eight websites, which includes Cheezburger and I Has a Hot Dog, attracts 5 million users and 100 million page views a month. The newest, ROFLrazzi, which launched last week, makes fun of celebrities. There are also sites devoted to dogs, politics and really bad translations of English, among others.

I admit, I only recently became aware of the LOLcats phenomenon, and have a difficult time seeing the appeal. I guess I'm just not a fuzzy animal photos kind of guy. And I have a strong aversion to bad spelling and poor grammar. But the people have spoken, and this is what they want.

As it happens, I actually went to college with Ben. If I recall correctly, he was a journalism major back then. Now he owns and runs a cat photo blog. Entrepreneurial genius? Mad visionary? Or just plain crazy about cats? The internet a crazy place, and we all have our calling, I guess.

By the way, I Can Has Cheezburger's founders, Hawaii-based Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami, have a book coming out next month, I Can Has Cheezburger?: A LOLcat Colleckshun. Yes, now you can get our funny fuzzy kitty fix in paperback form.

If you're in San Francisco, you can actually meet the guys who started it all tonight with fellow LOLcat fans at the HappyCat Happy Hour. You can also take part in a photo scavenger hunt happening this Saturday at the San Francisco Zoo. Details here: LOLZoo!!!. Happy hunting.