The site, which is almost entirely user-led, allows anyone to create a forum, or "subreddit", devoted to a single topic. The best of these subs, created and moderated entirely by volunteers, have thousands or even millions of subscribers.
They frequently appeal to hyper-specific groups, with subreddits such as r/learnpython (25,000 subscribers), r/foxes (31,000 subscribers) and r/TheLastAirbender (99,000 subscribers) theoretically offering dream demographic targeting to advertisers.
But Reddit wants to make the most of that potential without alienating its visitors, many of whom are attracted to the site by the absence of any of the bells and whistles typical to the internet in 2014.
“One of the things you have to be careful of when you have a site that’s 100% community-driven is how best to support that community and not make them feel like you’ve sold out,” Kevin Rose, general partner at the venture capital firm Google Ventures, told the New York Times' Mike Isaac. “You just don’t want that community to blow up on you.”
To that end, Isaac reports, Reddit has hired a new head of business strategy, Ellen Pao, formerly of VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The site hopes to make ends meet with well targeted, native-style advertising. For instance, a coding academy could buy an ad unit at the top of r/learnpython offering help to the subs' readers. The ad, while clearly marked as such, would look and feel just like a typical reddit post, which would hopefully encourage users to treat it like other content on the site.
Reddit is owned by American publishing leviathan Conde Nast, but operates independently from the firm's main unit.
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