Before you read this post, read the announcement that reddit.com is now its own company, reddit, inc. It’s exciting and scary to be part of reddit right now – we’ve got some great opportunities with reddit gifts, reddit, inc., and so on, but it definitely
So what’s my take on reddit, inc.? It’s opportunity. It makes reddit a little more “startup”-like – really, we’re in a state somewhere between “startup” and “established” (which will, I think, be better than “acquired”!). It’s not quite as risky as a fresh startup – reddit is an established entity, with a solid (if sometimes finicky) user base, and a revenue model that beats the pants off of “annoying overlay/flash/banner ads.” There’s plenty of room to grow, and we needed to step out from Conde Nast’s wing to take advantage of that room.
What can the users expect from reddit in the near and medium term future? It’s hard to offer guarantees. These days I often feel like the “blues” (Community Managers) over at Blizzard must feel – I want to make assurances, I want to tell everyone about the wonderful things that are coming, but making promises prematurely could lead to more disappointment. There aren’t any guarantees in life (you’re not likely to get a “3 year extended warranty” on spinning out a business). That’s an uncomfortable thing to say, and I’m sure it’s uncomfortable to hear. What I can say, on behalf of myself and my co-workers, is that this team is dedicated to reddit’s community.
Someone will, inevitably, make a remark about how “if you’re not paying, you ARE the product” – but that’s not true here. Not to that extent. Does reddit serve ads? Of course! Servers aren’t free. Have I ever heard a reddit employee call our users a “product”? Hell no! And if anyone here does, well… The point is, viewing any “free service” as simply “selling its users as the product” is as one-sided. We have two main “trades” – we trade access to our website to users in exchange for eyeballs looking at portions of our page, and we trade eyeballs looking at portions of our page for cash. Both of those trades are very important to our business, and frankly, we value the former more than the latter.