Imgur Expands Its Revenue Streams With Latest API Update, Now Ready For Commercial Use

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Imgur, the popular photo-sharing site among users of Reddit, Digg and Facebook, is today announcing an overhaul of its API in an effort to make it easier for developers to build applications using Imgur’s infrastructure. The company had already issued over 10,000 API keys prior to today’s API update, reaching developers who have built everything from desktop image uploaders to mobile applications.

Noticing this trend, Alan Schaaf, Imgur founder and CEO, said the company wanted to allow developers better access the Imgur infrastructure. “We’re now simply opening up that existing platform to other developers, so they can leverage what we’ve built to support their own applications,” he announced. But the API update is also about building a viable revenue stream for the growing company, which won best bootstrapped startup at the 2011 Crunchies.

“Building our image hosting business alongside our image sharing community means we’re looking at the long-term goal to be sustainable and not reliant on any single revenue stream,” Schaaf added.

Today, Imgur is now seeing 1.5 million image uploads per day. And, as of this October, the photo-sharing site reported 1.2 billion daily image views at the time of its biggest update yet to its user experience, which saw the addition of a new gallery, sorting, reputation tracking and other features.

Today’s API overhaul is instead targeting the other side of that earlier update: developers. The new API now supports all the new functionality introduced in the site upgrade, including image uploads to accounts and the user submitted Gallery, account management, album management, voting commenting and replies. It also allows users to log in with third-party applications via OAuth2 integration.  The API is available for non-commercial use by outside developers and for commercial use upon demand and subsequent approval.

The company is powering the image uploads for Q&A site Stack Overflow, which it partnered with in 2011. It has also now partnered with Mashape to help it monetize its commercial API. With the new version, Imgur allows for commercial use at scale, which means unlimited uploads, and pricing plans that support small, medium and enterprise-level applications.

More on the updated API, now in beta, is available here.