Category Archives: Reddit ~ Robbie Fryers

Still in the REDdit?


You would imagine with a 70 million per month readership that reddit would not be struggling to stay in the black without the amount of ad revenue they could be selling. You would imagine that advertisers would be eating up the chance to pay big money to advertise on reddit like they do with nearly ever other big publisher, but the reality is that as of mid 2013, reddits expenses still slightly outweigh their revenues.


There is a common misconception with reddit users and outsiders that reddit already is very profitable but the reality is that revenues are actually slightly short of expenses. But why do reddit not make as much selling advertising than other big corporations? Well the answer is simple, the people in charge of reddit don’t believe in selling invasive flashy ads (the most profitable) but rather very subtle banner ads, which are very unobtrusive. They value the user experience so highly and believe any other form of adverts would lead to a decline in user experience and drive users away. So to compensate the shortcomings of ad revenue, reddit requires other source for income and next comes the idea of reddit gold.


Since 2010, reddit traffic has been growing exponentially and as more users come, server costs increase rapidly. So to try and subsidise the running costs without hindering the user experience, reddit introduced a new subscription service, branded ‘reddit gold’. First introduced in July 2010, reddit users were offered the option of purchasing the reddit gold service for $3.99/month or $29.99/year. Although seemingly quite pricey, a handful of new features are given to enhance the user experience. These include the ability to display more comments on a page, add notifications to ones account and have access to a private subreddit r/lounge. The other great thing about reddit gold is that it can be gifted from user to user. So if I have read a great comment in r/engineering to help with an assignment or another user made makes a hilarious comment in r/firstworldanarchists I can myself gift them with a reddit gold subscription. The idea behind this form of monetizing is that the users are paying and in return getting a better reddit experience which keeps users happy while making the site better for everyone.


There is third source for revenue from reddit and that is known as the marketplace. It started in 2009 as redditgifts and was a platform for the worlds largest ‘Secret Santa.’ How it worked was similar to the traditional secret Santa where each participating user would be paired with another random user and everyone would send each other gifts. In 2012 there were over 50 000 participants! This community of gift sharing gave reddit the platform to start their own online store, selling as quoted by them ‘the most fun, geeky, unique, and otherwise awesome products in our marketplace.’  Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has an optimistic view of what the marketplace can become. ‘It’s still nascent, but gift exchanges are quite popular and (again in reddit fashion) we heavily curate the merchants who are allowed in the marketplace. We’ll see how it develops.


Reddit: the front page of the internet


Reddit, branded ‘reddit’ with a lowercase r is a social news and entertainment website which prides itself as being ‘the front page of the internet’. Users post content in the form of a link or a text post, but unlike Facebook and other social media sites, these posts are usually not personal information but rather content in which other users can relate to and enjoy. Each submission is then filtered by other registered users by ‘up voting’ or ‘down voting’ content which they deem to be interesting or not. The more up votes a submission receives the higher up the page it moves, the idea is to filter the best submissions from the rest. To categorise submissions, the website is divided into areas of interest known as sub reddits. These sub reddits are used by syntax /r/. For example a post to do with politics may be posted to and something to do with rugby may be posted to r/rugby etc. etc. The sub reddits are moderated by registered users and the number and variety of sub reddits is increasing rapidly.

The Technology

You would imagine reddit to have an incredibly large workforce and server setup due to it ranking as the 66th most visited website daily worldwide and 20th in the USA. However, reddit employs just 28 people! It was originally written by 2 new graduates from the University of Virginia in Common Lisp but has since been rewritten in Python. In 2009 reddit decided that instead of using their own servers they would switch to amazon web servers to deal with increased traffic. Due to the popularity of smartphones in recent years, people have been crying out for an official mobile client for reddit. Sadly reddit themselves haven’t made an official release, but that hasn’t stopped other developers from making their own clients. Several options are available from Google’s play store, Apple’s app store and the windows mobile app store. The apps are so well coded that it has stopped the need for reddit themselves to make one. The reddit community is always posting constructive criticism to help improve these.


The users

It’s rather cliché to use the phrase the users make the site but with reddit it really is the nature and diversity of the users that make it one of the most unique online communities. This will be addressed in much more detail in future blog entries. But so often any kind of request or question will be fulfilled or answered by an expert in that field. In terms of quantity of users, as mentioned above, according to reddit is the 69th most visited website each day worldwide and 27th in the United States.

There is an almost even split to male and female users and the majority lie within the 20-35 age band. Reddit is also conscious about the nature of its content and any controversial material or material deemed inappropriate for younger audiences must be marked with the acronym NSFW (not suitable for work). It is the moderators of each sub reddit which makes it such a strong community.