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April 14, 2017

Gfycat’s new Reddit bot supplies your dancing cat images on demand

by John_A

Why it matters to you

GIFs are one of the most popular forms of media on Reddit, and Gfycat’s new bot makes finding them easier than ever.

If you’ve ever shared an awesome GIF you stumbled upon while web browsing, chances are it came from Gfycat (pronounced “jiffy cat”). The repository of 25 million moving images sees over 75 million visitors watch 1.5 billion user-generated clips per month. And on Thursday, it’s coming to Reddit in a big way.

Gfycat today launched its Gfycat Bot for Reddit, an automated tool that lets users of popular social network Reddit add GIFs to comment threads without having to copy, paste, and post the images themselves.

Using it’s simple. When posting a reply or responding to a comment, the bot’s summoned with a command (“/gfycat,” without quotes) paired with a keyword or phrase. It does the heavy lifting, returning GIFs in the form of comments which can be further commented on.

“We grew out of Reddit, and so much of our content reflects that,” said Gfycat CEO and co-founder Richard Rabbat. “We’ve been a part of the community since day one, and since we’re a [user-generated content] platform Reddit users have been creating the content they wanted to see for years.”

Gfycat said it worked closely with Reddit on the release, which comes on the heels of recent changes to the social network. In March, Reddit began testing a new profile page design that takes a cue from Facebook and Twitter: Users can make posts directly to pages, and users who log in can follow profiles for new posts.

“Reddit is home to some of the largest GIF-sharing communities on the internet, and Gfycat has had a huge presence across our site since its inception,” Reddit business development manager Dip Ghuman said in a statement. “We’re excited to see how Gfycat Bot can give Redditors an even more GIF-filled experience, in posts and in the comments.”

It’s part of a bid to make Reddit “more accessible” to new users, co-founder Alexis Ohanian told Reuters. “If you yourself are someone who wants to share something, it’s pretty daunting,” he said. “We’re in a position where we can start doing product improvements that are admittedly overdue but represent a real level up for Reddit.”

Reddit’s outreach dovetails with Gfycat’s efforts to “reach younger consumers who no longer watch TV,” in Rabbat’s words.

In December, it debuted Gfycat Loops, a GIF creator for Android that converts screen recordings, augmented reality games, videos, video links, and camera content into a GIF-ready format. From there, it can be shared within Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other messaging and email clients.

In February, the GIF-sharing service launched a software development kit that lets developers tap the service’s millions of alien saucers, dancing cats, and other animated collections.

It’s a strategy that’s worked wonders. Gfycat recently announced a $10 million funding round.

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