"We love the web"

Tricky to describe this one. B3TA pronounced beta is based at b3ta.com. It is home to a community of artists who enjoy photoshopping images in a comedy manner or creating weird games and animations on the web. The site hosts whatever people have photoshopped recently which frequently involves kittens. They send out weekly newsletter on Friday afternoons that goes out to about 61,000 people, it contains:

  • A weekly photoshop challenge
  • Stuff done by B3TA members - Flash games and anims
  • Weird stuff they've found on the web
  • Other stuff (like when they hijacked the Monday website)
It's full of stuff that makes for great viral emails.
There are loads of other sites that do a similar thing but B3ta is notable as the starting point for various animations that have ended up on the telly: From what I can gather B3ta is run by Rob Manuel and his mates from a pub in London.
b3ta is a site owned by Rob Manuel and his drinking pals, from London. The site contains several elements:
  • User submitted pictures on the messageboard. The rules are simple: they have to be safe for work, they have to be funny and they have to be small. Flash is not allowed, as the idea of having many different Flash movies playing at once is frankly nauseating. These are submitted at all hours by dedicated fans on the Internet, and are frequently rude, sweary, disgusting, pornographic or just plain offensive.

    Every so often, someone with attendant power at the site gives an "fp" to an image, sending it to the front page. This is generally a good thing, so long as the user's web server bandwidth (b3ta doesn't host any images itself) can support it. Indeed, b3ta claim to shift around two terabytes (2000 gigabytes) of data every month, not including user submissions (that makes it all the more scary).

    Other users, if they feel that a picture is good, they do one of two things: they can "woo" it, by saying "woo" in a reply to the image (or in extreme cases of amazingness, "woo yay houpla (and rarely) panowie") or submitting their own image in reply to the image. These images, called wooyays, are mainly animated and their primary function is to say "woo yay", as above. Sometimes the wooyays are funnier than the original picture, although this is rare.

    Every week, b3ta has a challenge, which asks users ro make images on a given theme and then send them into the board as usual, just flagged as a competition entry. Past competitions have included "software the world needs" and "Daily Mail Britain" (i.e examples of a Britain as if run by the right wing tabloid, the Daily Mail). The winners are announced every week in a newsletter (see below) and they get nothing as a prize apart from the ability to feel good about themselves.

    Common themes are known as "bandwagons". Someone will submit an unmodified source picture and cite it as such, and many others will Photoshop it to buggery. Recurrent bandwagons include the iPod, the Mr Men and townies. Other b3ta mainstays include Svenno (an overweight child standing proudly with his lunchbox and Alf t-shirt) the Quo (an odd picture of Status Quo) and The Fear (I honestly don't know, but it provokes fear for some reason. Hence the name). The b3ta majority frown on these and would prefer original work, but they are allowed.
  • The weekly newsletter, with links to stuff which Rob and others have found online, and announces the competition winners.
  • The radio show on London's Resonance FM radio station, and also online.
  • Flash and Games by Rob and others, including "Elephant" (a crappy pisstake of the White Stripes) and "Spiderman Will Make You Gay". These cartoons have no point whatsoever, but are usually hilarious.
  • Online quizzes. These aren't the annoying ones of the "Which crappy teenybopper pop star are you" variety, more "Can you tell the difference between semen and milk". Like a lot of b3ta, it's very offensive and contains a lot of libellous material..
Most of the site's users browse in from work, and it causes significant damage to work rates. Some companies have blocked it with internet filters: one such filter has it banned on seven categories. Browsing it at school and being seen is practically suicide.

For Americans, something similar would be Fark. Links http://www.b3ta.com - b3ta itself
http://www.b3ta-help.tk/ - Help with b3ta, by member lemony

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