Reddit has put up a blog post looking for cash, because apparently despite pretty impressive traffic stats, the site isn’t as profitable as some of Conde Nast’s dead tree ventures.
The team at Reddit explains why they’re not getting much in the way of support despite their gazillion pageviews a second:
Whenever this topic comes up on the site, someone always posts a comment about how reddit is owned by Conde Nast, a billion-dollar corporation like Time Warner or Cobra, and how if they wanted to they could hire a thousand engineers and purchase a million dollars worth of heavy iron. But here’s the thing: corporations aren’t run like charities. They keep separate budgets for each business line, and usually allocate resources proportionate to revenue. And reddit’s revenue isn’t great.
One of the things that seems so funny about “Reddit Gold,” the new money-raising idea, is that it’s so Reddit-like. Unlike comparable service TotalFark, it’s not a monthly subscription or recurring, and there’s no set amount you have to give to participate. It’s kind of an “oh, hey guise, if you’ve got a quarter, that’s cool, and if you don’t, no big” kind of thing. (Actually, it’s best to donate a bit more than a dollar because otherwise you’re essentially donating to PayPal, and no one wants to do that.)
A corresponding Reddit thread has nearing 3200 posts, and the reaction is mostly “just please don’t make us use PayPal.” A few Redditors suggested a pay-for-no-ads model, some proposed a straight-up donations system, and refreshingly few said to go back to their parents for money- a strategy likely to result in a dead Reddit, which would be sad.
Have you ever donated money to a beloved community to keep it going, or would you? Do you need something fixed in return, or is a “lame trophy” and access to something you dig on hard for several hours a day enough of a fair trade? Is the venture doomed to fail unless Conde Nast starts looking after it properly?