The Truth About Lolcats And Dogs
There is no doubt that some people prefer cats and others prefer dogs. But which is more popular? We did a quick sweep of the web to find out and started at Google. The word “cats” returned 104 million Google search results while “dogs” fetched 139 million results. Not completely convinced and knowing that pet people love talking about their animals we tried “cat blog” and “dog blog” which returned 417,000 and 789,000 respectively.
We decided to take a different approach and see what Technorati, an internet search engine that searches through 94 million indexed weblogs, had to say about these keywords. Our results were still more of the same. 1,352,366 blog posts containing the word “cats” and 2,076,740 with the word “dogs.” So I guess we have our answer, right? Dogs are far more popular on the internet than cats. This statement may not be entirely true if you have ever heard of lolcats or cat macros.
Lolcats or cat macros are images that combine photographs of a cat with a humorous, often child like caption that heavily populate photo sharing image boards, internet forums and blogs. Time magazine did an article in July 2007 about lolcats calling the internet phenomenon “a running gag that won’t stop running but instead reproduces and mutates in the petri dish of the Net’s collective imagination.” Time magazine goes on to make the claim that a google search for “lolcats” returns 3.3 million results. This petri dish is still continuing to mutate at an alarming rate because based on our last google search (only 2 months after Time’s) the search frequency for “lolcats” has nearly doubled, returning 5.5 million results.
There are thousands of websites and blogs devoted to this internet subculture. Dampcats.com features daily pictures of wet cats and sees around 250 visitors a day, while stuffonmycat.com a site that posts pictures of stuff (money, food, christmas decorations, laundry) piled up on top of cats. Stuffonmycat.com gets over 6,000 unique visits a day and is backlinked around 18,794 times. These are staggering numbers for two websites that contain pictures of cats but they are nothing compared to ICANHASCHEEZBURGER.com.
The fellow wordpress blog, ICANHASCHEEZBURGER, which features daily reader submitted photos of cats, was only started in January of this year and already has 92,000 daily visitors, close to 50,000 backlinks (or other sites that link to them) and over a million Google search results for the ambiguous phrase “I can has cheezburger?” In addition to that, the site also recieves 200 – 500 picture submissions a day and is the #12 ranked blog on Technorati, somewhere between TMZ and The Drudge Report.
“The breadth of cultures [lolcats] has spread to is mind-boggling,” says one of the site’s two curators, who prefer to remain anonymous. “We think it has evolved beyond Internet subculture and is hitting the mainstream.” We agree, lolcats are definately becoming mainstream. Perhaps if McDonald’s marketing team ever plans on competing with the ad gurus that work for Burger King, they should hammer out a ad campaign with ICANHASCHEEZBURGER before people stop “lol”ing at cats.