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Even something like coffee table books would be a nightmare to get all the rights lined up. Having users post content on an open website allows you to shrug off a lot of these problems compared to actually publishing it yourself. A lot of the content on Reddit consists in writing from people using throwaway accounts they'll never check again (i.e. /r/IAmA, /r/AskReddit, etc.) or in "borrowing" images from pop culture or random strangers where it may be impossible to ever track down or secure the rights for (i.e. /r/vertical and /r/adviceanimals).

And there's nothing stopping someone other than Reddit from monetizing all that content the same way. If I wanted to, I could send private messages to hundreds of Redditors and get permission to include their comments in a self-help book gleaned from AskReddit comments, and Reddit would have absolutely no advantage over me in doing this, nor any way to stop me. As far as any content on Reddit goes, the story is the same way. Just as Hacker Weekly operates independent of YC and the people who run HN.

I think if you want to monetize Reddit, monetizing the audience isn't the only way. There's no reason Reddit can't, aside from having subreddits, sell paid hosting for completely separate, possibly private reddits that don't connect to Reddit itself.

The rights are already lined up. From Reddit's TOS (http://www.reddit.com/help/useragreement):

>...you agree that by posting messages...you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, enhance, transmit, distribute, publicly perform, display, or sublicense any such communication in any medium (now in existence or hereinafter developed) and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, and to authorize others to do so.

In fact, reddit has already used user content to create products. They've done shirts (http://store.xkcd.com/reddit/#Jawsbackwardstshirt) and posters (http://store.xkcd.com/reddit/#Cuiltheoryposter) based off of comments or submissions.

OK, that straightens out most cases, unless you're posting something that doesn't belong to you anyway. AMA compilations are in, but meme picture coffee table books are out.

Wasn't that their original business model. I don't think it went very far (although it got them to a ramen level profitability).

They also have things like /r/dragonage taht was setup by EA (possibly with a fee?) to promote the game

Indeed. Merch definitely hasn't reached its full potential. And that /r/dragonage sponsorship was indeed paid; I wish more advertisers saw the value of a branded subreddit. That's something for us to do a better job explaining.

I'm very late in responding here, but maybe someone will still see this... Instead of a branded subreddit, do you know what I (as an advertiser) really, really want? A branded novelty account. I want to have a novelty account where I can post comments that are relevant and engaging with an occasional link back to my site, and I'd like for the users of reddit to somehow know that I am a sponsored account (perhaps through a "sponsored account icon" next to my username). My comments would be subject to downvotes and upvotes just like any other comment.

If you, or someone else at Reddit, would like to discuss more, my contact info is in my profile. Cheers.


As a small business advertiser on Reddit, I feel as if this would be a good idea, especially for big businesses; however as I wrote before (http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=shoham), there are a couple of little things that I think you guys could be doing to be more business friendly with self serve ads for small businesses like my own: http://www.feed-forward.net

The three main ideas are: (1) lower the cost per day for ads (for a small business, with less than 100K a year in revenue, Reddit ads don't scale well). Facebook, and Google have a $1/day minimum. (2) Let the OPss of self serve ads moderate their post. It defeats the purpose of spending money on an ad, and having such an awesome idea such as the SSA program if the comments section is hounded by trolls, and moderated by no one. I've been told by admins that Reddit has a long history of free speech adherence, which is great, but posts are removed from subreddits all the time for not complying with the subreddits' rules, at the mods discretion. My proposition is that you guys extend this courtesy to buyers of SSAs.

Third, allow advertisers who have been advertising for a while to focus their impressions on people who have already clicked on their ads. Again, this is a small business-friendly idea -- I've focused most of my ad buys on r/music , a huge subreddit of 150K people. If after a month or two I could focus my buys on those users I've already engaged with in that r/, that would help bolster two objectives: keep the ad conversational, and help advertisers create a community around their submission/business. Once a few thousand people have seen my ad every day for two or three months, I can maybe even invite them to a sponsored r/...


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