The Oatmeal vs. FunnyJunk Round II: Generating Ad Revenue from Stolen Content

FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay

Image from: The Oatmeal

Last year, we wrote about two humor sites: The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk. At the time, Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal posted a comic explaining that FunnyJunk had been hosting many stolen comics from across the web, and profiting off of them through advertising revenue. We noticed that as of last year, content creators like The Oatmeal, were receiving significantly fewer unique visitors than content-aggregating sites like FunnyJunk.

Fast forward to today, FunnyJunk wrote a letter to Inman, threatening to file a lawsuit unless The Oatmeal pays them $20,000 in damages.  Naturally, The Oatmeal responded with a blog post, annotating the letter and promising to raise $20,000 and then donate it to charity instead.  Amazingly, “Operation: Bearlove Good. Cancer Bad.” was able to raise $20,000 in almost exactly one hour. In fact, as I write this, over $123,000 has already been donated.

I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look back into traffic to The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk to see where they stand. We can see that over the past year, FunnyJunk still receives more traffic, despite the fact that they don’t have anything original to contribute.

UVS to The Oatmeal and Funny JunkFunnyJunk’s lawyer asserts that Inman wrote about FunnyJunk as a means to capture search referral traffic to The Oatmeal intended for FunnyJunk. We decided to test this, and looked at the search referral data for “funnyjunk.” You’ll notice that The Oatmeal does not appear at all on our daily keyword destinations list.

Daily Keyword Destinations for funnyjunk

So, which side are you on? Do you think that FunnyJunk’s claim has merit? Do you think that sites like FunnyJunk should be allowed to repost intellectual property from creators like The Oatmeal at all?

About Kendra Bissonnette:
Kendra comes to Compete to work in the Online Marketing department as the social media co-op. Kendra is currently a student at Northeastern studying Communications and Interactive Media. Find Kendra on Twitter @KNBissonnette.