DC Inside (note: contents in Korean) is an incredibly popular site that's little known outside of Korea. But looking at how things are transpiring at this company is very interesting, almost entertaining.

DC Inside claims to have 0.8 M daily unique visitors. That translates into around 24 million monthly unique visitors - in October. Can't compare stats from different sources directly, but it's clear DC Inside is getting huge traffic. According to their CEO, DC Inside is perhaps the only major internet company that actively discourages members from writing too often, due to potential system slowdown. (Is the slowdown only coming from traffic surge, or also from poor scalability? We don't know.)

So what's so special about this site? The website is the "one-stop shop" for everything about digital photography. It's got user pics ("galleries"), daily photo news, digital camera and other IT gadget review (a la CNET), e-commerce, user groups, etc.

But what have made the DC Inside a national phenomenon were the UGC (user-uploaded pics) and the unique culture surrounding it. The site is (in)famous for its parody pics, as well as artsy professional photos. To give one quick example of the parody, they start off with a picture like this one...

Ichiro Suzuki dodging a fashball at the World Baseball Classic 06

... and make these:

These parody pics, as well as daily photo news and other content with pictures, get crazy number of comments. So DC Inside is essentially a "giant UGC playground."

So, how can a "UGC playground" make money? DC Inside recently succeeded in backdoor lising and received funding of roughly US$ 10M, announcing they will become a portal and compete directly against other portals. So it's like Flickr deciding to become Yahoo, instead of getting acquired by it.

But DC Inside users are notorious for their anti-commercial sentiment. According to one source, many DC Inside users actually discourage other members from clicking on banner ads at the site, fearing the company will make money off their content contribution.

If making a fortune from user content is evil, then the first company that's evil should be Google, since Google can only sell contextual ads when there's enough content indexed - and most of those content comes from users who didn't give explicit permissions for Google to index their data.

Apparently, the "money game" being played by DC Inside is already facing quite a bit of uproar from its users. How can a company almost entirely based on user content make money? Or perhaps more importantly, how can such a company turn users into raving fans, so much so that the users will actually hope the company will make fortune? Food for thought for UGC/opensource companies.