4chan founder Christopher Poole (a.k.a. moot) just launched a limited release of his newest, much anticipated project Canvas to 4,000 users.
For now, Canvas will be focused on uploading and editing images, but will eventually include other media as well. There appears to be some potential for tracking how images are altered from their original state, and reactions can be tagged with the stickers that are dragged on to the images.
Though the strange, irreverent Photoshopped images already posted to the site wouldn’t be out of place on 4chan, the site is not connected to 4chan at all, and looks nothing like it. Stunningly perhaps to some, it even requires Facebook Connect to log in during the beta period, rather than 4chan’s famous anonymous system.
Moot explains the user profile and validation process:
During the beta period we are using Facebook Connect to validate users and handle invitations. Only your friends already using Canvas will be able to see your photo and name, and only on the invite page.
But one of the realities of running a website based on advertising is that tasteless pics of Woody from Toy Story (to use a relatively tasteful example from 4chan) don’t exactly charm publicly-listed companies. Since the Chatroulette founder also began courting Silicon Valley (or was it the other way around), the Internet’s source of random lonely bedroom video has also been coping with this problem (one solution to the penis problem: algorithms).
Canvas has the buzz it needs; the question is how it can manage a stellar community while selling grown-up ads – and not the “adult” ads that 4chan relies on now.