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Meow meow everypaw!

We’ve got some Maine Coon-sized news to share with you.

But first I think it would be relevant to go back in time, all the way back to April, 2003 – that’s when I noticed that there wasn’t anywhere on the web for people to create pages for their pets. I had a pretty good hunch that if I made a really special website, lots of pawple would like to share their cats and dogs there. What I didn’t realize was how many pawple were already looking for something just like that. Faster then I ever expected, cat people all over the world we’re pleading that we make a cat version as fast as we could. By the time Catster launched in August 2004, we had already built in the ability to talk, share and meet with other members.

Its seems unbelievable, but in early 2004, academics were the only ones using the term social network and digital cameras had just become mainstream. Yet, when this community responded to Dogster and Catster with so much enthusiasm and passion, we knew something very special had been born and we committed to tending, nurturing and defending it with everything we had. Within months I threw out my plans for what I thought should come next and instead listened to everything members were asking for. We coded every site feature ourselves and committed to replicating the fun, open, yet safe experience of the cat house to work just the same on a massive scale in a way that no one else had done – and still hasn’t – on the web.

Catster.com’s homepage from August 2004

OK, now lets fast forward to April, 2011. Two million people come to our network of sites every month to find help, support, friendship, and love – from both humans and pets. Between then and now our sites and their communities have evolved and thrived through the Great Recession, Myspace and Facebook, smart phones and more intense debates on pet topics then any sites have ever seen. Where once members used dial-up to upload photos from their very first digital cameras, they now post videos straight from their phones and follow their friends’ newsfeeds on tablet computers. Right now it takes 12 very experienced people to keep everything up and running and the business in the black. The average tenureship of our current team is 4.5 years, which includes more nights and weekends then anyone would care to remember. It might seem like a lot, but that’s what’s needed to keep an online city with a population just shy of Denver, Co., working 24/7/365.

Which brings me to the really big news, something I am very excited to share since it is a great benefit for everypaw. As of today, all of Catster, our sites and our team are now part of SAY Media.

SAY Media is a great company located in San Francisco, just 1.1 miles from our current HQ and they are dedicated to powering the best passion-based media the Internet has to offer. The folks at SAY are huge fans of independent communities like Catster, and have the resources and technology to make them be the best they can be. SAY is a passionate, modern company that reminds us a lot of ourselves at a much larger scale. They love what we do and want to make it much easier for us to do more of it. Our whole team will be joining their cattery and together we’ll continue making Catster and Dogster the go-to sites for pet-lovers on the web.

The reason this is so exciting for our members and visitors is that now we can really focus on making Catster, Dogster and all our sites the best they can be. SAY will handle the burdensome tasks of 24/7/365 uptime, accounting, facilities, desktop IT, software updates and all the other issues that monopolize inconceivable amounts of time when building massive web sites. They’ll provide us state-of-the-art web serving and bring great enhancements to the advertising and brand experience across our sites. This means that our existing team will be able to focus entirely on continuing to deliver the best, most helpful online communities for pet people. There’s nothing we cherish more then our pawsome members and the safe, fun, informative environments of our communities. We are so happy to have found the perfect pawrent in SAY we know they are enthusiastic about our vision and feel the same way we do about continuing to grow our great communities.

Ted Rheingold, top cat
and everypaw at HQ