What is YTMND?
"YTMND, an acronym for You're The Man Now, Dog!', is a website community that centers around the creation of YTMNDs, which are pages featuring a juxtaposition of a single image, optionally animated or tiled, along with large zooming text and a looping sound file. YTMND is also the general term used to describe any such site." - Wikipedia
The history of YTMND
How it began
The world was different in 2001; it was a simpler time and the Internet was a humbler place. The airwaves were filled with trailers for Finding Forrester, in which Sean Connery absurdly declares "you're the man now, dog!"
You're the man now, dog!
Yourethemannowdog.com was originally created without sound, but after a few revisions, soon became a legendary site: a tiled picture of Sean Connery, large, zooming text and a sound file playing the immortal line "You're the man now, dog!" in Connery's rolling Scottish brogue.
At the same time, Goldberg created dustindiamond.com with design help from Stile, from the infamous StileProject.
In 2003, Dustin Diamond, who played "Screech" on the television show Saved by the Bell, sent a team of lawyers after Goldberg, trying to garner control of the dustindiamond.com domain. Goldberg was repeatedly threatened, and it became clear that the dispute was almost certain to end up before the courts. This period was one of unparalleled creativity for Goldberg. It has been suggested that perhaps the stress of facing such an acclaimed child star in Internet court mobilized Goldberg into one of the most productive and meaningful phases of his career.
At the same time that Diamond's lawyers filed a UDRP complaint against Goldberg in order to try and seize the domain, Goldberg also began to find evidence that yourethemannowdog.com was resonating with Internet users around the globe. Spoofs of the site were being created on dozens of other domains. Seeking to harness and encourage the meme, Goldberg began to create a directory and mirrors of these spin-off sites. However, the site's popularity was such that the list soon became too large and difficult to maintain, and Goldberg decided to build a site that would allow users to easily create their own hosted yourethemannowdog.com spinoffs.
The dawning of an era
On April 1st, 2004 Goldberg purchased ytmnd.com. At the same time, the legal battle with Dustin Diamond was drawing to a close. Lina Goldberg, the head of the YTMND legal team, had submitted Goldberg's response to the UDRP complaint a few weeks earlier and an answer was expected at any time. Just a few days after ytmnd.com was purchased, the courts issued the landmark decision in Goldberg's favor, allowing him to keep dustindiamond.com.
Due to the precedent-setting nature of the case, Lina Goldberg lobbied to publish a press release about the groundbreaking decision. Goldberg acquiesced, and this press release contains the first mention of YTMND on the Internet.
The dark ages of YTMND
Despite the press release being sent to the nationwide media, Goldberg had not yet actually finished YTMND. He spent six days feverishly coding and designing the site, and on the seventh day, he rested.
In early April of 2004 Goldberg soft launched YTMND to a small group of friends and family. The site was riddled with bugs, and the hosting was erratic at best. Within two weeks of the initial launch, the first YTMND star was born with picard.ytmnd.com. Its popularity only exacerbated the bandwidth issues that were causing instability and downtime. During this period it was not uncommon for YTMNDs to "go dark."
Late in 2004 Goldberg took YTMND down due to an inability to cover the expense of hosting such a media-rich site. In April, 2005, when most of the site users and even Goldberg himself believed that there was nothing that could be done to resurrect the site, the owners of Reflected.net-- longtime fans of YTMND--approached Goldberg with a offer to take care of the hosting until he was able to host the site himself. The rest is history.
"The site that spawned 1,000 memes"
Six years after YTMND was first created there have been over 950,000 YTMNDs made and over 320,000 users have registered. YTMND now generates enough income to cover its massive hosting costs and new servers are paid for through site sponsorships and donations.
Goldberg has used YTMND's popularity to explore and promote issues relating to free speech. He and the YTMND community have successfully engaged in numerous skirmishes with organizations such as the Church of Scientology, Gary Larson's The Far Side, Sega, Scholastic and Harry Potter and Pez.
YTMND has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Attack of the Show, WIRED, the Washington Post and Reuters.
YTMND sites range from the political to the nonsensical. Using sound, image and text, users of the site display an unending reserve of creativity and occasionally, humor.