so was Digg, and Fark before it, and Slashdot before that.
Am I wrong? History shows that these sites are basically popular for a certain amount of time, and then they lose huge market share when they inevitably do something to sour the community-at-large (like trying to monetize).
You meant it hasn't so far. That's not a dig at Facebook, or a prediction of death, but on the short timescale we're looking at (a few years really) it's much to soon to know whether they've stopped the cycle, or made it slower. And therefore you can extent that to Reddit, the fact that they've gone longer without decline doesn't mean they won't start their decline tomorrow, or the next day.
But this isn't in the context of simply 'guess the future of the website'.
The context is a hypothesis that this type of site will grow and eventually die down - and assuming that hypothesis, it's too early to say whether Reddit has changed that trend or just changed how long it takes. I'd say that in another 10 years, if it starts to die then, it would have gone long enough to say it changed the trend. But right now, too soon.
Is it growing slowly and consistently, or experiencing explosive growth? The link I was replying to shows that while Reddit and Digg started at about the same time, Reddit really only took off when Digg committed suicide.
Traffic growth is a cost, not a revenue. Usually there's some revenue associated with that traffic growth, but there's no indication Reddit's infamously anti-commercial user base is very easy to monetize.
I have no idea how open they are to exploiting it, but I'd bet just having a high-traffic social hub has significant monetary value in the data and analytics. Twitter makes millions selling analytics and feeds, and will probably increase that in the future. I'd personally pay something for all sorts of slices of Reddit data; for example, a real-time feed of pageview info, or a firehose of all comments, would be great. Of course, the real question is whether people with more money than me would pay.
>they're not in immediate danger of being replaced by another aggregate news and/or niche site //
I'd say they're not in immediate danger because they're not making a profit and most businesses that have the sort of money needed to support such an effort (ie the large traffic) don't want to waste money on something that's not going to make a profit. Indeed Conde Nast appear to have only recently and quite reluctantly allowed reddit some more resources.
Explosive growth in traffic, yes, what's the balance sheet look like.
I've never really looked at Reddit as a company that wanted to grow under Conde Naste. They were able to demonstrate their value through influence. Now that they are a separated from Conde and under new expectations one level above from Advance, we can see what it is they're made of and if they're really going to be able to be profitable.