OK, just finished. Here’s my take. Users don’t want to be sold to. So Enablement is out unless it comes wrapped . People do still get pissed about data, even though we all expect it’s happening anyway. And #3 is already happening… sort of.
Their approach with “Reddit Gold” where users essentially gift one another premium access to the site for leaving positive comments. You can also buy reddit gold for yourself if you’re not witty enough to leave a comment.
I think it boils down to the goals of reddit and what is expected by who is invested in them. There is this altruistic, break even is good enough for reddit, mentality I have with the site were a big part of me feels that a “Hey, you want us to keep this shit authentic, give us money” approach (a la Wikipedia) with a big ask once or twice a year could work. Sure, you’re not gonna pull massive numbers, but you’re going to keep users attention. I donate to wikipedia every year because I believe in what it stands for. I would do the same to reddit to keep it from losing its way.
Your post title threw me off. When I initially read it I thought I was going to be reading about how to use reddit to monetize my business. It’s 2 am…. I quickly realized my error, just wanted to point that out.
The problem you’re trying to solve, to me, either requires hyper transparency with the users, or finding an opportunity in the peripheral. I know they tried a ecommerce model, just selling their own merch, but I can imagine the margins were shit because they shut it down.
I do wonder if they had a custom store, some sort of “As Seen On Reddit” type thing where any image that made the front page could be purchased as prints, or cool product from /r/INEEDIT or /r/shutupandtakemymoney could actually be purchased. I feel like I’d shop on there I I knew it was helping reddit.
In any case… this has me thinking. Funny how I have a problem of having a small audience (who actually buy shit) compared to most “successful” sites out there who have massive audiences of people who don’t want to pay for anything… There HAS GOT to be a way to blend the two. But alas… I feel this is the problem all of Silicon Valley is trying to solve.Â