Monetizing Reddit ⇒

Good on David Carr at the New York Times for filing a piece on Reddit, which is still an enigma to most followers of old media. His inroad is President Obama’s historic AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) thread from last week. As someone who couldn’t believe a sitting president would go on Jon Stewart, I was blown away he would subject himself to the hive mind of Reddit,1 but I’m glad he did, if only to put the site on the radars of those who think it’s just for nerds.

Here’s my favorite bit:

Reddit is not an exception to every rule in the digital world. Like many digital media companies, it has a big audience and minuscule revenue. Bob Sauerberg, president of Condé Nast and a member of the board of the independent company, says that is fine by him.

“We think it has huge potential and we want to make sure that we scale that,” he said. “There will be ample opportunity to monetize what they have built as it grows, and it will be a very big business.”

Reddit’s users won’t allow it to be monetized in any traditional way (see: Digg), so as a company they’ll have to be spry and forward-thinking. Sauerberg’s untraditional sentiment seems predicated on two ideas:

  1. Don’t mess with a product that works.
  2. If you can’t find a way to make money with a community that large, get the hell out of Dodge.

This is very welcome thinking from an old media stalwart like Condé Nast. Let’s see where the site is two years down the line.

  1. Hell, I can’t believe he exposed himself to the obvious criticism of his typos. ↩︎