The Cheezburger Network

Posted: 1 Mar 2012

See all articles by John Deighton

John Deighton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Leora Kornfeld

Harvard Business School

Date Written: September 8, 2011


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.

Learning Objective: The case explores the marketing questions of customer acquisition and retention in the emerging online content publishing industry, specifically the sector that publishes user-generated, community-moderated content, and requires very agile response to evolving audience interests. The model acquires new audiences into the network via social networks, the virality of the content, and/or recommendations received on the approximately 50 web sites that comprise the network.

Suggested Citation

Deighton, John and Kornfeld, Leora, The Cheezburger Network (September 8, 2011). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit Case No. 511-091. Available at SSRN:

John Deighton (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Leora Kornfeld

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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