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Reddit Founder: “I Wish I Still Owned Reddit Now” (mixergy.com)
190 points by AndrewWarner on Oct 20, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 121 comments



Full context of quote:

Andrew: Have you ever regretted selling when you did instead of holding on for a little bit longer?

Steve: A little bit longer, no. Also, when we sold it was the fall of 2006, right before the economy totally tanked. And so, if we had held on a little longer, I think we would have had dark days ahead. If we could have seen the whole future that in four years things would recover and Reddit would be huge and traffic would be great, yeah, I wish I still owned Reddit now and owned it for the last four or five years.

For everything to have gone right for us, to have the stomach to survive that economy, I mean, who knows, like Conde Nast’s umbrella helped us during that economy. We could still hire and pay market salaries when a lot of people couldn’t. So, maybe we wouldn’t have even survived. It’s hard to say.


well the hiring thing, they only had like what 4 employees?


I was the first actual employee (everyone else is considered a founder), and I was hired after the acquisition. Yes, it is true that I would have joined beforehand too for a lot less, but just the same, it was nice to have health care and a steady check.


This is way off topic, but I believe we met at the Founders and Cocktails event last month that was held at the lounge across the street from Santana Row. We chatted for a while about the Reddit vs. Digg battle going on at the time.


Yep, that was me.


Yeah, but they've always been reticent to capitalize on traffic with ads, and the ads they do have are empty half the time. I think they could very easily make quite a bit of money, but it would require monetizing their traffic and selling user data to advertisers. This could likely be done in a way that didn't exploit the trust that the community places in the admins, but it would have to be done carefully, openly, and with a significant development investment.


From what reddit’s admins have stated, Condé Nast has been unwilling to let reddit undercut its other properties on ad rates—they want reddit to be a “premium brand,” like the New Yorker or Vogue. Anyone who’s waded through the typical morass of racism, sexism, and other cluelessness and juvenilia on reddit knows how hopeless this vision is. Compounding the problem, redditors also like to fancy themselves a premium audience—no joke—so even if Condé were willing to let reddit run the caliber of ads that keep sites like 4chan afloat, reddit would face a massive user revolt. It’s an unenviable situation, but that’s what happens when you attract an audience as socially, intellectually, and demographically unappealing as reddit’s.


Demographics,

http://www.quantcast.com/reddit.com#demographics

45% Female Affluance level relative to US internet: 114/100 "There is a high index of Graduates and Post Graduates here." 31% household income > 100K

https://www.google.com/adplanner/site_profile?#siteDetails?i...

Female: 24% 31% Household income > 75K Bachelor's degree or more: 53%

Yeah this demographic is so unappealing.


First, reddit’s own admins have called out these statistics as inaccurate (even the numbers you’ve cited wildly contradict each other). Secondly, and more importantly, have you seen the kind of content that always floats to the front page? Advertisers willing to associate themselves with content like this discussion (http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/du2sa/wow_she_is_hot_w...) and this submission (http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/d6y0n/once_you_go_bla...) are not typically the kind that pay premium rates. I know reddit likes to think of itself as a community of intellectuals and sophisticates, but this self-image has little basis in reality, and every would-be advertiser looking at the site knows it.


> even the numbers you’ve cited wildly contradict each other

The idea of those two separate was that while they both contradict each other, they both prove the premiumness of reddit demographic.

> First, reddit’s own admins have called out these statistics as inaccurate

Link please.

You gave an unsubstantiated claim that Reddit demographic is

unattractive to advertisers, which are proven to be wrong by two most widely used site demographic markers. Showing two links which are hate speech, racism or worse etc don't prove that the demographic is not advertising friendly.

> I know reddit likes to think of itself as a community of intellectuals and sophisticates ...

Reddit doesn't need to be intellectual to command premium rates. If > 30% of its audience makes > 75K/yr, it has premium ad inventory. Have you seen Icanhascheeseburger's ad rates? :)


Link, as requested: http://blog.reddit.com/2010/07/experts-misunderestimate-our-...

I would just add that reddit’s difficulties selling its ad space—they’ve had to resort to serving Flash games and pretty pictures just to fill the advertising frame, though they spin this e.g. “Instead of an ad, here’s a flower/Just our way of saying thanks”—speak volumes about reddit’s ability to appeal to sponsors of the sort sought by Condé Nast.


They definitely have problems getting enough quality advertisers, but that may have something to do with them not having anyone (until recently?) whose job it is to sell ad space. Vogue does.


Just look at the recent IE9 debacle. It was an 'ask me anything'.

What MS responded with was crappy marketing speak, which would have worked on 'normal' people. Normal people would have swallowed it up. But Reddit did not - ie they are hard to monetize.


What... I can't even... If you can't fool people, they're hard to monetize? Have you tried being honest for a change?

Opera did an IAmA, had ten engineers answering every question in a very informative manner, and I feel that they got a million times better publicity than Microsoft ever did.


... and Opera is still a niche what 2% browser share?

It's not about 'fooling' people though. It's about people being overly skeptical, assuming everything is a scam, assuming conspiracy theories, ulterior motives.

I'm simply saying that the Reddit userbase is untrusting and not an easily monetizable demographic.


I wouldn't describe the response to the IE9 AMA as overly skeptical. People had some serious issues with what MS had done with IE in the past, and asked pointed questions. The response was lackluster, at best. I'm sure if they had just stuck their engineering team in there to begin with, it wouldn't have spun out of (MS's) control as it did. Microsoft screwed the pooch on that one. I don't think you can take that incident as being reflective of advertisers' experience on reddit.


Come now. Those stats are pie in the sky.

If Quantcast said Reddit was mainly Conservative would you believe it?

The community is heavily liberal anti consumerism pro drugs pro adblock college kids.


I wonder what percentage of Reddit users run Adblock - I imagine it's much higher than your typical site.


Yes, but how many have specifically whitelisted Reddit?


That's not really the issue. The fact they have adblock installed makes them the type of demographic that's hard to monetize.

Whitelisting Reddit doesn't magically make them a better demographic.


I'm not so sure about that - you have a community that is very tech-oriented and actually volunteering to view ads knowing it is doing the community a benefit. Such people are more likely to pay attention to what is being advertised as well as they're conscious the advertisements are there by choice.

Marketing done carefully on such sites can lead to a much more effective turnover if it identifies with the group it's targeting. A few good examples are the beef jerky company and the Reddit soap rescue done about 12 months ago. Forgotten both their names but can do a search if need be :-)


eh, the thing is, most of the time, if you are selling, say, kingston ram, when you buy advertising, you are trying to exploit a disparity in information access. I buy lots of ram, right? I've used three grand worth of ram so far this month and have 1/3rd of that on order. I want to pay the lowest price I can for acceptable quality (usually defined as being made by one of several brands.) ram. I spend a fair amount of effort seeking out the lowest price on ram.

If you are trying to sell ram to me as a retailer, paying money to reach me is probably going to kill any margin you would get from my purchase... to sell me ram you need to be the lowest price of a particular set of brands that I can find. Getting yourself on google shopping would probably be cheaper, and it would be just as effective (maybe more effective... I assume that when I click thorough a paid add, I expect to pay a premium on the other end to pay for the cost of that click through.)

Now, if you are trying to sell ram to someone who, say, doesn't know that google shopping exists, then maybe you can charge more than google shopping and then pay money for an ad to reach that customer.

So, in general, less-savvy consumers who don't understand how to effectively price shop are far more valuable to advertisers. And reddit users usually don't fall into that 'less savvy' bucket.

Now, this is true for the majority of retailers... people who are trying to sell commodity products.

If, on the other hand, you are trying to build a brand, and you can get your add to somehow imply that you are supporting reddit, or you are part of the reddit community (and there is room for that... by buying advertising space, you are supporting reddit, even though you have selfish motives in doing so.) you can effectively leverage that to build your brand amongst those more savvy users (and more savvy users tend to have control of more resources, over time, simply because savvy users generally make better decisions.)

So yeah... if you are trying to sell ram to me as a retailer, ads are probably not going to help you. But if you are a ram manufacturer or a ram "brand" (like kingston) and you are trying to put yourself on my list of 'acceptable quality' ram vendors, then advertising on reddit could possibly help you.


I can't find a link but a while back on TWIT Leo Laporte said something along the lines of: "Multiple advertisers have declined to spend money with us because our audience is 'too smart'".

The advertisers definition of 'too smart' being: unlikely to be persuaded by advertising, would comparison shop on the internet, and lacked strong brand loyalty.

I think Reddit is in much the same category, add to this that all ads can be 'Reddited' (commented and voted on by the community) and I imagine many brands are terrified of advertising on their as they'd at a minimum have to assign someone to respond to comments and worst case it would turn into a debacle ala Microsoft's IE9 advertising on Reddit (where the PR team answering questions was openly derided as being flaks and doing nothing but answering technical questions with blathering marketing speak).


Advertisers might not have warmed to it yet but I much prefer advertising that is a 2 way street. The good products and services rise to the top whereas the empty marketing speak approaches fail.


Months ago an SMS provider advertised on reddit. Rather than downvote or ignore the link, there was a veritable flame war of people signing up for the beta just to waste the advertiser's time and quite a bit of animosity going back and forth. Even though most of the people in that conversation wouldn't have utilized the service, they attacked the advertiser because anything involving SMS must be spam.

Having witnessed many cases where redditors attacked, I would never consider advertising there. I can only imagine most of their advertisers advertise once and never again.


Don't forget also that a large portion of Reddit users are college kids, and people with very low amount of disposable income.

As I say though, volunteering to view ads doesn't make them a better more marketable demographic - Anti-consumerism Liberal College kids mainly.


Some redditors are college kids. Many, however, are professionals. Just look at the money raised for Haiti, the Colbert Rally, etc. They are notoriously willing to part with their money for things they like. I think the problem is not that the userbase is unmarketable, but rather that capitalizing on it would require more than the typical semi-related ad strategy. They really should create a system whereby advertisers can choose specific types of redditors they want to target. Rate everyone on a Meyers Briggs type scale based upon their voting, clicking, and subscription habits. Package that data into an API that advertisers can easily use to pick out the types of individual they want to target. Thus pro-prop 19 groups could target subscribers of r/trees or people who upvote pro-marijuana stories, without only being able to advertise in pro-marijuana reddits. Conversely, the anti-gay marriage folks who were banned could target people who would likely hold their points of view. This cuts out much of the risk that advertisers currently face, of running into people who quite vocally oppose their ads, and should also help to ensure a higher CTR.

It would require some hardware and development investment, but I think a strategy like this could pay off immensely. Better yet, it wouldn't run afoul of the users as a) no personal information would be given to advertisers, and b) they would be seeing more relevant ads.


Still do. Their office is literally a room in the corner.


We have a new guy starting in November, but yes, it is true. We are still in the corner of Wired's office.

We figure we can get at least 8 people in there!


I find the market salaries bit odd. I can't remember who it was, but I distinctly remember one of the admins being quite sarcastic with a "we're not here for the money" comment.


He said pay market salaries. Sounds to me like he was paying his employees standard wages, as opposed to having them take pay cuts to make ends meet.


I think I was loosely translating "market salary" into "average salary for the work they do" which I guess isn't an entirely accurate translation.

It's plainly obvious that the reddit guys are overworked (that was half point of reddit gold - they needed to hire more people but CN wouldn't authorize the expenditure), so "market salaries" for their job title wouldn't be the same as market salaries for their responsibilities.


Maybe the admins could be coasting at some big company for the same salary but a small fraction of the responsibility.


That's absolutely true. If I had stayed at eBay, I would be making more money, and would be responsible for a tiny little part of the company.


I think that is all of us. :)

We're not in it for the money, because the money isn't that great. Conde is a private company with no stock either.


Sounds like a dream job :/


No, a dream job would be all the responsibility with twice the money and stock and revenue sharing. :)


I was being sarcastic, what's the upside? You get to hang out with the community on Reddit and get paid for it?


Well, the biggest upside is that there are basically 4 of us running a top 100 internet site, so we each get a lot of responsibility. Also, anything we do affects the lives of literally millions of people, which is pretty cool.

And yes, the warm fuzzies I get when see the reddit community do something awesome are what keep me coming back day after day. Knowing that in some small way, I helped facilitate that awesomeness.


You guys really do an exceptional job running the site, kudos for that (and yes, that includes the chocolate covered granola bars if you so wish). The community has really evolved into something pretty awesome.


Personally I see reddit more as a liability than a commercial asset.

The community is the loveliest on the internet, but also extremely self-conscious and suspicious of change, much less one dictated from the top. Whoever owns reddit will have to foot the development, support and hosting fees, while remaining subservient to a moody and very sophisticated user-base.

Better cash out and be a community hero.


>The community is the loveliest on the internet

I hope you're being sarcastic. reddit's been a sordid mix of conspiracy theorists, political extremists, and 4chan users for the last year or two.


Reddit raises money for people in need. They might dabble in their fun kiddie pool subreddits, but they have consistently walked the walk when and where it matters.

Let me say that I have only yesterday signed up to reddit, for the first time, under my own name. And that I would happily go elsewhere for intelligent feedback. But if I was wronged by a bigger adversary (government, business, etc.) Reddit would be the first place to air my grievance.

Even in their most sordid humor, they're both clever and humane. I just get the feeling they're nice people. People post pictures of their kids, their pets, their hand-drawings, hobbies, even their own private parts (if you know where to look.) I think Reddit covers the whole spectrum of the human experience .. if all humans were charitable, fairly well educated, suburbanite, closet-Marxists with short attention span (which I emphatically identify with :-)


Maybe you haven't noticed how reddit treats the users who espouse ideas they don't like. /r/atheism redditors have launched invasions on /r/christianity multiple times now, and go in and totally destroy threads that contained nothing especially provocative; they've downvoted all the Christian viewpoints and upvoted all the mocking viewpoints. I expect most other religious subreddits have encountered similar intimidation.

Even isolated within subreddits, it's hard to get someone who is at odds with the ideas of most of reddit's userbase to visit a friendly subreddit when they visit the main page and see a bunch of f-bombs, nsfw links, militant atheist and liberal content, etc. My parents, for instance, would be offended by something on the main page at almost any time you captured it. Things are better now that /r/atheism is off the front page, but it's still not good.

Reddit changes its logo site-wide to celebrate same-sex marriage victories. Any time the Salvation Army is mentioned on reddit 100 redditors jump to write about how the Salvation Army opposes pornography so nobody should ever donate to them. And so on.


Even isolated within subreddits, it's hard to get someone who is at odds with the ideas of most of reddit's userbase to visit a friendly subreddit when they visit the main page and see a bunch of f-bombs, nsfw links, militant atheist and liberal content, etc.

That's true of HN too, though, just in different political directions. There's a lot of polemical stuff that makes the front page, and especially a lot of fluff libertarian-partisan stuff, e.g. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1795577 . The comments often have a lot of militant-libertarian stuff too if the topic is politics/economics.

As someone who doesn't much like hardline socialism or hardline libertarianism, I don't really find reddit that much worse on this subject, especially considering its larger size. Mostly it's just skewed in the opposite direction.


I don't think it's the same thing here at all. Look at the item you posted -- there's a lot of agreement and disagreement going on, and both affirmative and negative viewpoints have good scores. The discussion is relatively civil and sensible. It's not that someone occasionally posts that kind of article, it's that all those articulately and civilly offering opposing viewpoints are considered enemies instead of enrichers, as they should be and at least relatively often are here on HN.

Also, I think on HN a story called "Socialism saved the miners" could have been front-paged and had a similar discussion. On reddit, if you post something that doesn't fit with their preconceptions against religion, capitalism, etc., all you can hope for is < -100 karma.


>Reddit changes its logo site-wide to celebrate same-sex marriage victories.

That and the porno thing are way more about age than ideology. Old democrats are against same-sex marriage and young republicans are more likely to be for it than most other deviations from the party line. Look at a graph of opinion on that issue over age sometime.

I suppose ideology is in there a little as far as secularism (!= atheism), but hey, it's the internet.


So is reddit intentionally trying to alienate potential older users? I see no reason to celebrate or mourn the success or failure of a given political issue site-wide like that. It just emphasizes the idea that reddit has a commonly-accepted set of political ideals and that if you don't agree, you shouldn't be there.

And redditors will definitely treat you that way. They usually don't care if your objection is well-reasoned or articulately expressed, they just instantly destroy anything vaguely pro-religion, pro-life, pro-traditional-marriage, etc.


This is not a given. When I do post on that site I very often contradict the hive mind (even on religious subjects on occasion) and usually get (to my surprise) positive karma from it. I've never gotten worse than -10 ever.


The people who are celebrating it would say it's not a political issue, it's a human rights issue.


That's nice, but they know that idea is not commonly held. The only reason to make a logo for it is to intentionally scare off/irritate people who disagree, further contributing to reddit's homogeneity.


>That's nice, but they know that idea is not commonly held.

Only amongst those opposed to gay marriage. It is very much a human-rights issue for everyone I know, particularly those who are gay. As for the decisions reddit takes as a site (not the community), they are generally both popular with the community and the admins. Take, for example, the stance they took on running pro-prop 19 ads, or their decision not to run anti-gay marriage ads. The first was genuinely political, but it was also popular. The second was a matter of principle.


No it's not, why would they want to do that? The logo is to celebrate something they think ought to be celebrated. They're not afraid of having personalities and letting those show on the site. Given they're young, relatively liberal and techy, then they'll appear young, relatively liberal and techy. You also don't have to agree with them, as I'm sure they'd agree. It's a delicate line, having opinions and also moderating others opinions, but I think they're making a fair fist of it so far.


You reckon they are intentionally trying to create a homogenous atmosphere? How do subreddits fit into this? I don't think that makes real sense.


the illusion of freedom...


It will be, take another look at that graph over time. Miscegenation used to be a controversy, too.


That's not really fair, though. /r/atheism is the atheist equivalent of Christian fundamentalists. If atheism is a religion like "not collecting stamps" is a hobby, /r/atheism wants everybody to stop collecting stamps.

Everyone who has been on reddit for a while knows to unsubscribe from /r/politics, /r/atheism and maybe /r/worldnews.


I'm sure part of it is the size. /r/atheism has over 94 thousand subscribers. In a group of people that large, there are inevitably going to be a bunch of super-assholes. The true measure of a subreddit is its ability to keep the assholes in check and denounce them when they rampage. A quick skim of a few threads suggests that /r/atheism is fairly average in that regard.


One would have to unsubscribe from almost every popular subreddit to avoid that kind of thing. IAmA is full of "I grew up in a Christian household where I was abused by being taught that religion is good, when I turned 24 I snapped out of it, AMA" or "I am a sex worker, AMA" or "I have sexual fantasies about gravy, AMA", and the comments are usually about what you'd expect; users congratulating each other for not being religious any more, etc., and if someone comes in and tries to defend it, just by virtue of defending a religious viewpoint, they are downvoted to oblivion.

The attitude prevails throughout almost every popular reddit.


I have no idea where you're getting this from, it sounds like prejudice. To wit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA


#3: I am a brothel keeper, AMA #13: Waitress at high-end strip club #15: "Evangelical pastor's kid". Inside: "I'm 27 now and agnostic bordering on atheist." and so on, that's just on the first page just right now.

Of course, it's not necessarily bad to have these come up sometimes. It's just the amazing frequency with which they do, the universally supportive attitude of reddit, and their extreme desire to lynch and denigrate anyone who violates their universal support.


I don't understand why users shouldn't support someone of an unusual profession. Are they supposed to get all riled up because someone owns a brothel, or is a waiter in a strip club?

Hell, I remember a pedophile who recognised that his tendencies were harmful to children and had vowed never to act on them. Given that he can't change his condition, I think that was a brave and mature thing to do. While I obviously don't support pedophilia, I think that realizing that your desires can cause harm and restraining yourself from them is not something to condemn.

Apart from that, I find that it's really valuable to try and see things from someone's viewpoint, no matter who that person is. There have been many people doing IAmAs, and I find that critically deciding whether this person is someone to support or to condemn was eye-opening. Can you elaborate on why you find the community's support a bad thing?


I don't find support of these people to be a bad thing. I find the homogeneity and cruel, almost-textually-violent reactions of redditors to non-homogenous thought to be the bad thing. Look for AMAs where the subject is positive to religion ("IAmA practicing Mormon", "IAmA Catholic priest") or opposed to same-sex marriage, etc., and see how those turn out.

reddit is extremely antagonistic toward people who they consider unenlightened. There is a culture of incivility. It's not a numbers game -- it doesn't matter for instance that a larger portion of reddit is irreligious than religious -- it's just a matter of human decency, courtesy, open-mindedness and humility, which are almost non-existent on reddit.


I have seen quite a few religious IAmAs, and, as a rule, everyone was respectful. Reddit mostly has a problem with people who try to undermine rationality and critical thinking in the name of religion, not with religion itself. If you show me a post where redditors are being disrespectful to a (sane) IAmA-er, I will be very surprised.

In fact, I remember a recent post by a theologian, it had hundreds of comments and everyone (including the poster) loved it, it was very civilized and informative.


Do you remember the title or have the link? I'd be interested in reading this.



There are certain subreddits that really get out of control (e.g. /r/atheism). The thing about Reddit is that the base is so huge that I don't think there is anything you can say to describe the majority of them anymore. Pretty much anyone and everyone is represented to some degree.


There are nice people on reddit, of course. You might be able to say that some subcommunity of reddit maximizes `lambda subcommunity: f(subcommunity.size) * g(subcommity.loveliness)` over all possible subcommunities of all community websites (and for some reasonable weighting functions f and g), but if you're generalizing to the entire reddit community then I can't help thinking you're mistaken.


If this was reddit, someone would take your pseudo-math prose and come up with a formal system in Coq. But the highest ranked comment would be about a cat with proper table manners.


No, some people on a website called reddit.com raised money for people in need. 'Reddit' isn't a person, it is a thing.


Reddit's community is dependent upon what subreddits you're part of.


I agree. But surely "the [reddit] community" without qualifiers refers to the entire community, not some subset thereof.


It's a good place on average with a few loony subreddits.


Well, if in "a few" you include most of the largest ones, including /r/reddit.com, /r/politics, and /r/worldnews.


Happens when any community gets big enough.


Would you consider reddit analogous to a country, and the sub-reddits to states?

Can we raise the dixie flag of /r/circlejerk and rabble rouse for states rights to stupidity?


I'm not going to defend the south broadly, but there are little pockets of sanity here.


You obviously haven't been to much of the internet then- it really is one of the better communities.


"You obviously haven't been to much of the internet then- it really is one of the better communities."

"better" is relative. To me, HN is one of the "better" communities. Reddit is comprised of 1% people that are actually smart, 20% kooks, 15% political nutjobs, and the rest are early 20-something pseudo-intellectuals that feel that anything against the US, religion, or corporations makes them more intelligent and witty in the eyes of the world. I also get the feeling that people there have very little experience beyond a keyboard in their parent's house.

When I look at any HN article, most of the comments are sane, well-articulated, and thought-out. It's quite refreshing, actually.

Reddit to communities is what Craigslist is for dating.


I spend a considerable amount of time on reddit, and some on HN. What I would say is this: If I want a dry, knowledgeable discussion about a particular tech topic, I'll come to HN. If I want to laugh/cry/rage, I'll go to reddit. The SNR might be higher here, but there's far more wit there.

Both communities serve their purpose. HN is nice in that it is specifically not trying to be big. It seems that Paul Graham is trying quite hard to avoid an Eternal September-type scenario arising from the dilution of the community as it exists now. That's great, and I respect that. The flip side of that, however, is a lack of dynamism.

There's nothing unique about either site. I find the comments on HN to be generally more knowledgeable than those on r/technology, slightly better than r/programming, and about the same as r/netsec. When you get down to the smaller subreddits, the idiocy usually goes away.

>Reddit is comprised of 1% people that are actually smart, 20% kooks, 15% political nutjobs

I'll give you the last two, but I'd say you're off by an order of magnitude on the first one. That's a generalization of the site as a whole, mind you. Your figure might be entirely accurate for, say, r/pics.

>and the rest are early 20-something pseudo-intellectuals that feel that anything against the US, religion, or corporations makes them more intelligent and witty in the eyes of the world.

Again, depends on the subreddit. On r/politics, I'd say you're probably right. Many other subreddits would defy that description.

Check out:

http://www.reddit.com/r/DepthHub/

http://www.reddit.com/r/Foodforthought/

As I said before, r/tehcnology is hit and miss, but the smaller tech subreddits are good. I personally frequent r/netsec, and I often find good links and discussion at r/python, r/linux, and other tech subreddits.

You may find this article: http://www.amerika.org/technology/the-entropy-of-reddit/ vocalizes many of your issues with reddit. I don't agree with the author on everything, but some of his points are valid.


"I'll give you the last two, but I'd say you're off by an order of magnitude on the first one. That's a generalization of the site as a whole, mind you. Your figure might be entirely accurate for, say, r/pics."

My figure is from every subreddit on the front page (without adding any of the specific ones you can add yourself). I could find conservative/republican subreddits, but that wouldn't represent the community as a whole either.

It's pretty obvious even from the link titles users have posted.

"As I said before, r/tehcnology is hit and miss, but the smaller tech subreddits are good. I personally frequent r/netsec, and I often find good links and discussion at r/python, r/linux, and other tech subreddits."

This also doesn't represent the community as a whole. These are small subreddits.


Seriously, though, if you just remove pics (add pics2), funny (add humour), worldnews, atheism, politics, and maybe reddit.com, you'll tripple the quality of discussion you run into.

It's easy to classify the big subreddits as "Reddit", but that's just not the case. The "community as a whole" is an ephemeral thing. You can't really judge it by the tone on some of the, admittedly larger, subreddits.

Seriously, you say how much better the community at HN is, but you dismiss the subreddits I mentioned, many of which have more users than HN. HN itself was originally supposed to be a subreddit, but the admins wouldn't give Paul what he wanted. Reddit itself is more of an umbrella than a group.


Sometimes the same articles get much better comments on Reddit than they do on HN. Also, for some reason, the Apple and Microsoft fanboys don't seem to be as rife there, or at least they're properly downvoted.


It's easy to point out fanboys we disagree with. A better mental tool might be reflecting upon yourself and finding out what you might be a fanboy of, what are you irrationally attached to that you will defend vehemently, even when at odds with reason?

Once you discover the object of your irrational affection, try to sympathize with those irrationally at odds with it (i.e. haters, detractors, bashers, the Other fanboy, etc.)


I'm totally zen, or Neutral Neutral if you will, and not attached to anything. Not even Common Lisp, Emacs and Linux... nope.

Seriously, there's a disproportionate amount of irrational pro-Apple and -Microsoft posts here on HN that get upvotes.


HN is smaller. When you have a forum of this size the members will be much closer to the ideals of the site (i.e. if it's about civil discourse then everyone will respect that, if it's about being a troll that's what you'll get). As the sites get larger you start getting closer to the average amount of kooks/idiots/assholes/etc. I can't think of a single site that got big and didn't have this.

Facebook is an interesting take on this by effectively blocking you from hearing much from people you don't wish to hear from.


Oh, that is one of the most PKD things I've read in a long time!


This whole notion that Reddit is one personality is ridiculous. Reddit has idiots, philanthropists, rapists, and startup founders. And those probably overlap.


I think he was talking more about all the feel good reddit stories...i.e. all the money they raised for all the different charities, having that girl who got bullied get a all you can buy day at a toy store etc.


If you consider the size of the community, it's relatively miraculous. But you're of course right in an absolute sense.


This is a key consideration. Reddit is pretty frakkin big and yet still remains relatively well balanced depending on your subreddits.

What I've been impressed with on many occasions is the community keeping in check the over-the-top commentators who are just being douches, regardless of which side of the debate they are on. The community really does moderate itself quite well considering its size.

If you hang out in r/wtf or some such, you kinda get what you would expect, but select your subreddits well and you can be part of some pretty interesting discussions and occasionally learn some really cool things. Reddit ftw in my opinion.


Only if you venture in to those subreddits. That's the nice thing about it. You can select which sections of the community appear on the top bar.


I used to love Reddit, but lately I've gotten some abusive and hurtful replies to stuff I posted there. Definitely seen the ugly/shameful side of the internet.


Actually, Conde Nast is not footing any of the costs. Reddit is entirely self-sufficient.


Actually, if reddit is truly self-sufficient, it's a relatively new development. Reddit was bought four years ago, and repeatedly told to not worry about money for the first 2.5 of those years and was accordingly not self-sufficient.


As far as I know, this is incorrect. In fact, before the introduction of reddit gold reddit was so self-insufficient they were not allowed to hire because they were not making enough base revenue for Conde Nast to consider it worth growing in staff. Not profit, revenue.

It might have changed post Gold, but I'm not so sure about that.


It definitely changed post-gold. IIRC, they're bringing in 40k/month from gold alone.


So that pretty much only covers their hosting costs...


That's 40k on top of what they were already making from ads, Which was still more than their expenses.


What? You're saying they're making 40k (hosting costs) + all salaries from advertising? I find that incredibly hard to believe. Like impossible to believe.


I have no idea what their hosting costs were, or their 5 salaries, but they did make enough to stay afloat, although not enough for CN to approve more staff. Jedberg's commented in this thread, so I suggest you ask him whether they were profitable pre-gold.


Their hosting costs were around $35k according to http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/ctz7c/your_gold_dollar...

Since then afaik they've added more servers.

> "but they did make enough to stay afloat"

I think Reddit has been operating at a loss for quite some time.


Actually they were around $22,400 according to the comment just under that. Still, I wouldn't be able to tell you whether or not they operated at a loss. You'd have to ask jedberg.


There's simply no way they're making anywhere near that from advertising. I would even have a hard time they're making that a year from advertising.


300 million pageviews/month goes a long way. Sure, their CTR is probably lower than most sites, but their traffic is huge.

Let's say their CTR is 0.1%. That's 300k clicks/month. I'm building in some wiggle-room here, as a 0.1% CTR is abysmal, but often their ads aren't really ads. Even at $0.01/click, that's still $30k/month. More than enough for hosting. Now, I'd hazard a guess that most of my numbers are quite a bit on the low side, as reddit has operated for years without CN shutting the doors. Also, from what the admins have intimated from time to time, they make money, but not enough to register on CN's radar.

I wouldn't discount their ad sales; traffic like that carries a lot of weight.


> The community is the loveliest on the internet

I'm going to post this every time I see a misconception like this (and I really don't care if I get downvoted, it's more important to get the truth out).

Reddit is one of the biggest anti-semitic hate sites on the 'net.

One of many examples: http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/ccnir/im_gonna_get...


Plenty of jokes on Reddit about atheists, Christians, Muslims, etc. Seems pretty equal-opportunity to me.


It's very much not equal-opportunity. For instance:

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/d6lll/whats_your_...


Uh, that's a thread that asks "what's your most offensive joke". Using that as evidence for anti-semetism is like using Wikipedia's inclusion of Nazi emblems on their page on Nazism to prove that Wikipedia is anti-semetic.


My reply was not meant to assert that redditors are actually anti-semitic in a nazi sense, but to show that it's not really "equal-opportunity". In short, jokes about jews and blacks are clearly acceptable and even popular but gay jokes are not.

Maybe one could claim that gay jokes aren't there because they aren't considered "most offensive" to start with but I really doubt it. I think it's just a code for "let's make racist jokes".


I'd say racist jokes (and the dead baby ones also found on that page) tend to be considered more offensive than most other categories. I'm trying to think of gay jokes more offensive than the ones posted in there and am coming up short.


I wouldn't judge the entire community based on the actions of one redditor. You also have to look at the converse. There are also people on there who are genuinely kind, but may not be as vocal. There are many instances where redditors have banded together for a positive purpose. Some are apathetic and just want to have a laugh.


Sorry. The site is having trouble. I'm not sure why, but maybe it's because my hosting company had a power outage somewhere.

Here's a Google Doc with the transcript: http://bit.ly/9gRoGl


He could have pulled a Kevin Rose and shot himself in the face. There are people who are good at certain things, knowing when to walk away is very important.

There are entrepreneurs that are great at creating startups, but beyond that they are horrible. There are countless stories of founders who dont know how to lead companies pass certain points and refuse to hire anyone else, watching their business fail.


Another great interview, Andrew. I think it's the combination of fantastic guests, and you asking the really interesting questions (that are often somewhat uncomfortable), and sort of harping on them a bit until you get it across. That's what I tend to do also.

I want to give some negative feedback too: I read the transcript this time instead of watching. (1). It was a little slow to start, so I skimmed a bit near the beginning, but it quickly got interesting (I don't know how to fix this - I do the same thing with many great theatlantic articles). (2). One reason I read the transcript was that I do feel a little uncomfortable with the probing questions - but that's also what I value most. (so again I can't offer a solution). (3). Another reason to not watch the video is that I feel really uncomfortable when you look away from the guest while they are talking (while eg. googling something) - it feels really rude (even though I know it's not). And for this one, I have a solution to suggest! I think it's really demanding on you to maintain eye-contact throughout a long interview, and TV interviewers don't need to do this, because it's edited to cut between the interviewer and guest. So it's your format, of showing both heads, that creates this problem. So a simple solution is to just cut to the guest when you google or otherwise need to look away (assuming your video software has a hotkey for that).

Anyway, the ratio of my negative vs. positive comment length doesn't reflect my opinion, which was that this was another excellent interview - thanks very much!


Steve gave a talk at the MidVentures LAUNCH event in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. My take-aways: (i) This guy is just a kid :-) (goes to show how quickly one can build things, note to self: if reborn, don't waste time on a PhD); (ii) He is very modest and unpretentious, as far as I can see no cocky Zuck thing going on here; (iii) He also looks like Brian Johnson in The Breakfast Club :-)

He talked about his experiences in founding Reddit, when their original idea was turned down by YC.


This was a fantastic interview and I'm going to set aside 1 hour a week to watch more on Mixergy.com

I think his interview technique is very polished and this interview was incredibly watchable.

Anyone concerned about the "context" of the quote should also note: he explicitly asks what headline to give the interview in order to "game reddit" and increase hits - I think he did pretty well, don't you?


The conversation about selling Reddit was very interesting, but I definitely thought a more intriguing part was the discussion about how some startups fail in Y-combinator (not having the stamina to try a new idea, not sticking long enough with an idea that was good in the first place, etc.).


Steve, if hipmunk does well maybe you and friends and the reddit users can buy reddit back.


Brings up another question, though.

Is Conde Nast the right place for Reddit?


You know, if you asked me this 2-3 years ago, I would have said definitely no. But they have been mostly (they were few incidents) off-hand. I honestly don't see most other company doing it.

If it weren't for the link at the bottom of the page, outsiders wouldn't even know that reddit is owned by Conde. I say, they definitely deserve some kudos.




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