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I don't really understand why they're so against doing proper advertising, so much so that they're willing to operate at a loss. Digg didn't fail because of advertising and if reddit can approach advertising in a "mature" way -- not just going after every penny -- it could work out well.

    you come under editorial pressure from advertisers to 
    remove or modify it…This eventually results in a 
    watering down of the true, authentic content on the site
If you're in a situation where you have no advertising and you're losing money, why not be in a situation where you have some advertising and if an advertiser gets annoyed you tell them to leave and not work with you again? If reddit has value to advertisers a few annoyed advertisers aren't going to break the site, especially when it can exist as a money losing business.

Their current advertising is just... pointless, I rarely see adverts on reddit, almost every page load has the advertisement block filled with an internal reddit notice (eg: "check out the FAQ!", "Thanks for not using adblock", "check out reddit gifts") or an advert that someone has paid for via self serve for their subreddit.

Maybe I'm missing something but surely even just throwing up a simple adsense block in the advertising space would generate enough revenue to be worth whatever supposed good will these cutesy cat picture adverts exist to score. Adsense certainly wouldn't "destroy" the trust people have placed in the site... As someone that puts time into reddit I'd be more annoyed if they let the site become so unprofitable they have to shut it down vs. have a few adverts that I can opt out of with a tiny monthly fee.

Would anyone here (that uses reddit) leave if they had proper advertising (that could be opted out of with reddit gold and was not audio / video advertisements, just "standard" web adverts)? I've never met someone willing to leave a website over adverts, if the adverts are reasonable.

Also during the time I wrote this comment I was constantly refreshing reddit.com, so far I have not seen a single non-reddit related advert and I'm at 30 page loads.

(maybe raldi or jedberg or whoever that left reddit and lurks here can explain why this isn't being done, because it's confusing, is there an internal belief that reddit users are so touchy that they'll leave if reddit tries proper advertising?)

edit: oh and for the perfect example, imgur has advertising, what about 75% of popular reddit content uses, and I don't see people boycotting imgur? (of the 100 links in r/all right now 75 are to imgur, 25 of those are to imgur.com which has advertising, so that means 25% of the front page links go straight to imgur with adverts)

edit edit: in an attempt to explain my opinion succinctly, I think the real problem reddit has is the toxic idea that any attempt to make money will alienate the community, when in reality the majority of reddit users don't care and the vocal minority would not leave the site as long as the advertisements were reasonable. People want a stable website that they can be a part of, advertisements don't destroy that. Look at how many people love imgur, 9gag and funnyjunk. Having so little faith in reddit users ability to deal with adverts is to me more "insulting" than the adverts themselves.




I agree that Reddit is taking a naive view on Advertising. There is a huge amount of value to be added here, both to Reddit and the Community by an effective Advertising platform. I'll speak with examples:

r/gaming, a post about Borderlands2 with a sponsored ad that links to one-click checkout on Steam.

r/politics A post about Romney's many lies featuring a donate to Obama link, or vice versa.

r/fitness Featuring a sponsored Ad to a local crossfit gym that is having a free trial.

To pull this off they need much better Advertiser control, sentiment analysis of posts, and inclusion into a larger Ad Exchange (or offer Reddit inventory via an exchange model).


If I were an advertiser, I'd much rather pay someone to astroturf Reddit than buy advertising space on Reddit itself. It seems like a much better investment.


I spent a huge amount of ad money on reddit for literally no conversions and a handful of clicks. These were ads that were hugely effective on lots of other sites.

Spending your money to advertise on reddit is less effective than simply flushing it down the toilet.


You underestimate reddit's abuse defenses.


And you overestimate the crowd's intelligence if you think this doesn't happen on a regular basis (quite successfully, I might add).


Probably as simple as they've watched past businesses that monetized via advertising, didn't like what they saw, but are still struggling to come up with alternatives.

Once they figure out how to monetize effectively, they'll really have something hot on their hands, so I'd bet it seems like a good idea to tread carefully and tolerate some loses for now.


>Digg didn't fail because of advertising

I agree with your point and I agree with this. But something interesting I remember from when Yishan was hired is this comment by kn0thing (cofounder Alexis Ohanian) http://www.reddit.com/r/blog/comments/qnyy7/new_reddit_ceo_r...

>I asked all of the candidates I interviewed the question: "Why did digg fail?" Yishan knows. And I'll do everything in my capacity as a board member of reddit, inc. to make sure he doesn't fuck it up.


From that comment thread I found this answer about why Digg failed from Yishan:

http://www.quora.com/What-are-some-examples-of-changes-upgra...

    Digg stagnated because it listened to a vocal minority 
    of its community

    but rather they are locked into an unchanging mediocrity 
    by the inherent conservatism of their existing userbase
isn't this EXACTLY what he is doing here? He's letting the minority decide that reddit shouldn't have adverts and shouldn't try and be profitable and should cling to the idea that reddit is one big happy family that is sitting around telling each other stories by the camp fire as they all help fuel that campfire.

Most people I know that use reddit don't have an account, let alone are willing to pay money towards reddit. Shouldn't reddit move forward; accept that yeah some of the vocal minority might hate adverts but with proper advertising they could transform the sites financial situation and hire enough people to make the site able to grow and adapt alongside the demand for the site? Lots of the comments on the blog post seem to have the same sentiment: the reddit admins are never around and the site barely seems to be updated, if people feel that way wouldn't they be happy to take an extra ad or 2 to see that change?

I would love to see an extra 2 adverts on every reddit page if it meant the site could grow and adapt and offer all the features it should have but are left up to the community to build (see: reddit enhancement suite). There's so much reddit could be...


It's really just one of many revenue streams I imagine they will try to tap. People feel like it's a community as well, and if they're willing to give back, which reenforces the individual's sense of connection, then it can work.


I'm sure they've gone over the numbers and determined the only way to generate enough ad revenue would be to seriously annoy the users, all of whom are familiar with Adblock anyway. And why go down that road if they don't have to, there's nothing wrong with asking for contributions in order to put out a product they're proud of. Advertising in print has always been a supplemental thing, the real money came from subscriptions.


    And why go down that road if they don't have to, there's 
    nothing wrong with asking for contributions in order to 
    put out a product they're proud of
They've explained it as they're losing money and they will continue losing money unless a substantial number of people sign up to reddit gold. Asking for contributions is an absolutely wonderful idea (they've been doing it for over 2 years and I signed up the first day it was available -- the company I work for also has a similar system to reddit gold for our websites) however I do not agree with sacrificing actual user experience in the name of "freedom".

As I said in my comment I would love to see a comment from someone involved with reddit previously or presently on whether or not the fear of user outrage is a driving force behind this refusal to invest in proper advertising, because it seems to be that way.

From the way the blog post reads I don't think the issue is that they can't make money with adverts, it states:

    we can start running a bunch more ads
That seems to imply that adverts are a way for them to make the money they need, it's just one they want to avoid. Maybe they're sugar coating it because saying "if you don't pay up the site is dead" may come with PR problems, but that seems unlikely. My experience with internet advertising is not extensive, it's possible you're right but I think figures would be needed to understand that.

I think that if they want to really commit to the idea that reddit gold can support the site they need to have targets (A counter of the # of people that need to sign up this month), something that people can understand and associate with. If there's 50,000 people needed every month to be paying and it's at 40,000 people will be compelled to sign up to feel like they're contributing.


Looking at what reddit does, I seriously doubt this. They're not a "publication". They don't have to pay writers/journalists to create content, the content comes free. There are many ad-based sites that don't have that luxury. Event moderators come from the community, they're only significant costs is infrastructure and payroll. I use to work for a company that has a fraction of the uniques reddit gets (still in the millions a month though) and that 1) does a lot more then reddit as a product and 2) has significant other costs outside of salary and infrastructure and was still not in the red. Also, this wasn't shitty advertising, the ads were well monitored and we broke ties with networks/advertisers that we found continuously had crappy ads.


There's also no control over the content. As an advertiser, I would be worried with where my ads may end up. With a traditional publication, I generally know the type of content that will come out and their policies.

For your publication, the writers will keep writing as their job, but if you upset the content generators at reddit, you'll lose your content source.

In general, monetization of a publication is a more proven model than monetization of user generated content.


Redditors are a shit audience that commands shit rates from advertisers, because the only businesses willing to buy space on reddit are those with nothing to lose by association with that virulently misogynist, racist filth (well documented by Gawker, CNN, ShitRedditSays, among others).

There’s a good reason Advance has done everything it can to distance reddit from the premium brands of Condé Nast, short of dumping reddit altogether.


If what you are saying were true President Obama wouldn't have campaigned on reddit two months before the election. Presidential campaigns don't take risks like that. You are vastly overstating the damage to reddit's reputation that small underground subreddits and a handful of users have caused due to a couple days worth of tabloid coverage.

If Advance were worried about reddit tarnishing their brands as you say they'd just have the admins ban anything offensive.


I don't doubt that there is a lot of racism, misogyny, etc, prevalent on Reddit. That doesn't mean that Reddit doesn't have any good qualities. It's like judging America based on the worst qualities of the country and saying, "This is America, why would anyone want to live there."




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