The number one place that BuzzFeed sources its images from is Tumblr. This is where The Dress was discovered. Instagram, Getty Images, and Youtube round out the top 4. This analysis isn’t perfect, however, as it ignores content that BuzzFeed embeds without putting an attribution link under it (Twitter embeds for example don’t need an attribution link since they are clearly from Twitter). A number of these sites simply provide stock photos.
There is a perception in the Reddit community that BuzzFeed is merely a sourcing all of its content from Reddit. Even though Reddit barely cracks the top 10 sources that BuzzFeed cites, this analysis doesn’t necessarily disprove this notion. For whatever reason, Reddit, doesn’t have its own image and video hosting. Instead, most people upload the content to Imgur or just link to the original source of the media on a place like Tumblr or Youtube for example. BuzzFeed could very well be using the Reddit community as a mechanism todiscover the content that is hosted elsewhere. Or not, this analysis doesn’t say.
So, if media sites are looking to compete with BuzzFeed at being BuzzFeed, here’s where to look. Internet culture is out there and it’s only on a few sites. You can build a web crawler that finds it like we did, create a newsroom that looks for it, or build some sort of hybrid technology/human approach as we imagine BuzzFeed does.