Turning to the official reddit blog, anyone might be surprised to learn just how the bookmarking site has grown over the last span. The site, which is effectively the last man standing” for such bookmarking and sharing prowess in my view, has seen nearly 4 billion pageviews just this October, and that’s one heck of a lot of sharing and bookmarking these days.
[When anybody breaks down metrics in their news to billions of pageviews, watch out.]
According to reddit, some 46 million unique visitors plied the waters of the ever popular service in October. And with an equal drain on reddit server costs too. The social news site founded back in 2005 is now the preeminent bookmarking and sharing site of the type online. With an Alexa Rank of 134 as I write this, the player that supplanted Delicious (Alexa 500 something now), Digg (500 something too), and Propeller (gone) and even Diigo (dead of hacked) is going stronger than ever. Maybe with competitor peeps?
Regardless of space reddit occupies market wise, the simple fact of the matter for Steve Huffman’s and
Alexis Ohanian’s brainchild is, it costs a lot of money to run such sites. To wit, this is the reason for CEO Yishan Wong‘s post on the blog. The web’s last remaining attempt to monetize bookmarks needs money to provide the best service, that would be uncluttered by ads. reddit Gold would seem to be the logical way out of a potential “ad dillema” for Wong, and maybe it is. However, reddit is decidedly not Wikipedia, and while Wong may be as smart as Jimmy Wales…
Not too many people are going to sign up for a premium service launched a couple of years ago, not just because reddit needs the dough. Excuse me for being blunt here, but I am sure this is the 70 percent view on the subject. “Recommitting” to something that did not work well in the first place, unless we are talking Greek attacks on the walls of Troy, is likely not a sound strategy. But the PR and brand perception here, it’s even tougher if reddit is unlucky.
When Jimmy Wales makes his pleas for funding to keep Wikipedia afloat and ad free, not many web users can actually visualize A – an ad cluttered web encyclopedia, nor B – using the web without Wikipedia. As for reddit, or any other free service… Seeing or not seeing reddit (above), versus the same idea of Wikipedia (below), is simply not the same thing. And let Google ask peeps to pay for a Gold Gmail! Well, maybe they will, but you get my notion here.
I know reddit does not float or sink by my advice, but if I could give some here. Yishan Wong should just use this announcement as a call for help, which it is, and then sling some good ad stuff and other revenue flows in there. I told Jimmy Wales 5 years ago to monetize Wikipedia and give the revenue to sick kids or whatever. Ads are not the problem really, its the advertisers and the way they are used that is sometimes painful.
All said and done, reddit may be done for anyway. With a browser feature for just about everything, and mobile taking off faster than any jet, there is after all a reason Netscape, Digg, and all those other “social” money makers fell from favor. The web grew up, and got really bored too.
When the only reason for existing is housing some people, your business is not long for the world. Bookmarking sites, of which we have represented a few and analyzed nearly all over the years, are archaic – there, I said it. Don’t take my word. The chart below from Compete agrees with my assessment, but Josh Constine at TechCrunch apparently thinks reddit could thrive if their “gold” plea works out. We’ll see.
A plea to save a sinking ship is always a sad thing. If my perception on this is right, if the apparent drop in traffic coincides with this plea for ad-less reddit, maybe the last great social news experiment is over? Think about this too. Since Google Panda and Penguin did a wood chopping a forest of link building activities, how many of you other there used reddit for a social optimization tool? Now, you tell me, is reddit crashing?