It took 8 years for Pastebin.com (which, for the unassociated, is sort of like the Internet’s clipboard. Anyone can paste in a big ol’ wall of text and share it with anyone else, often anonymously) to reach 1 million “active” (read: not spam or expired) pastes. In the year and a half since, it’s spiked all the way up to 10 million.
Interestingly enough, Pastebin’s original owner chose to sell it off just before the massive uptick — bet you can’t guess why!
Pastebin lulled along at a fairly steady pace for most of a decade, driven largely by IRC users. Pasting a massive length of text into IRC is bad practice, akin to suddenly shouting over everyone else in a conversation. Instead, users paste their epics into a site like Pastebin, sharing the link in IRC for anyone interested.
Then came Twitter. Suddenly, being succinct wasn’t just polite — it was mandatory. Wordy twitterers flocked to the service as a means of getting their lengthier rants out there. Usage began to spike.
Then came Anon. Best known for their myriad acts of online mischief, Anonymous turned to Pastebin (with its fittingly anonymous uploading) as a means of distributing their news releases. As these releases spread around the Internet, it acted as a free word-of-mouth campaign for Pastebin. Usage exploded.
Alas, the legal attention that the more nefarious Pastes drew were a bit too much for the site’s original owner, Paul Dixon. Dixon sold the site for an undisclosed amount in 2010. In a post we wrote on Pastebin back in August, Dixon commented:
I started pastebin.com in 2002 but sold it to its present owner in 2010 after it became too much of a time drain dealing with the posts which had piqued the interest of law enforcement agencies! I’m glad I did, as I don’t think I’d have enjoyed dealing the Lulzsec exposure. I applaud the present owner though, I think they’ve added a lot to the original idea…