Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2011 (Revised November 2013)

The Cheezburger Network

by John Deighton and Leora Kornfeld

Abstract

Cheezburger Network was a Web publisher of humorous, user-contributed content, using social media for dissemination, and selling advertising against the traffic of 1 billion page views per quarter. In January 2011, it raised $30 million in venture capital for the network of 50 websites that featured an entertaining array of user-generated content. Beginning with a site based on pictures of cats with whimsical captions, it had grown into a small but impressive digital empire, riding waves of viral content. CEO Ben Huh prided himself on his ability to go from idea to implementation in just a few days, but this just-in-time method made strategic planning difficult. Profitable from day one and with $5 million of revenue across 50 brand identities, Huh's challenge was to evaluate his growth to date, to look critically at the digital media landscape, and to figure out how to best to spend the $30 million.

Keywords: Budgets and Budgeting; Online Advertising; Customer Relationship Management; Venture Capital; Emerging Markets; Strategic Planning; Sales; Online Technology; Web Sites; Publishing Industry; Web Services Industry;

Citation:

Deighton, John, and Leora Kornfeld. "The Cheezburger Network." Harvard Business School Case 511-091, February 2011. (Revised November 2013.)