4chan owner Hiroyuki Nishimura has taken to the notorious message board with a rather serious post. It looks like the current state of the site is unsustainable, and he is running out of money to keep it up.
According to the post – aptly titled “winter is coming” – Nishimura said that “4chan can’t afford infrastructure costs, network fee, servers cost, CDN and etc, now.” The owner of the site apologised profusely for the situation, and presented several options for keeping the anonymous board operational. Needless to say, the options have not proven popular with its users.
It turns out that the ads that ran on 4chan were not enough to keep the site running, which is why Nishimura has temporarily removed them. Instead, he is contemplating more intrusive pop-up and pop-under ads; as well as what he is calling malicious ads.
Alternatively, he is saying that he may need to halve the amount of traffic received by 4chan. This would involve shutting down several message boards to reduce the number of visitors. It would also limit the size of images posted to the boards.
The third option is to sell more 4chan pass premium accounts. These essentially give subscribers additional benefits on the board, although it isn’t entirely clear about what the benefits are. Many users are vocal about the division between premium and free users on the anonymous boards; largely because being a premium subscriber reduces the amount of anonymity.
Whatever the course of action, it sounds like 4chan needs a cash injection very soon or it will have to close down. While the online community that frequents the boards has a less than stellar reputation, it would be a dark day to see such a large online institution vanish over monetary problems.