Though this New York Timesreport doesn't mention the local connection, both TechFlash and Slate have previously plumbed two-year-old Seattle company Pet Holdings. Run by former journalist Ben Huh, the company owns and runs the famously popular, viral I Can Has Cheezburger site, which is now venturing into book publishing, as the Times reports.
The books come mostly from reader-generated content, since it's we citizen Web surfers who upload our favorite krazy kat photos and kaptions to Huh's site; then he gets to profit from the book. Though the Web site itself, which now carries a fair amount of advertising, is clearly driving the revenue train. Huh told John Cook at TechFlash that his family of sites (which includes Fail Blog) attracts five million page views a day. (For this reason, Seattle Weekly is considering its own SeelyCats feature, based on the cats of our managing editor, Mike Seely.) Huh bought the LOLcat site for $2 million last year from Hawaiians Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami; see the Honolulu Star-Bulletinaccount. The two compiled the first Cheezburger book, which sold 100,000 copies.
And Huh's money quote to the Times: "We're turning user-generated content into editorial content." He tells the paper he estimates that his company will generate half a million dollars in revenue from its book deals alone. Smart guy. Smart enough, too, to get out of journalism.