Reddit, ‘The front page of the internet’, has an Alexa ranking of 8. Which is absolutely fantastic, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Alexa rankings, Alexa is a ranking site that provides ranking based on site traffic.
Reddit is a platform for creating your own web forum, and also a social networking site. It sits somewhere between wordpress.com and Facebook. Reddit is an American Social news aggregation and a community discussion website, where users can submit text posts and links as well as up vote or down vote them. The article entries are arranged by the areas of interest knows as “Subreddits”. Some unpaid moderators monitor and prevent harassment.
Reddit managed to score a $200 million fresh round funding from firms like Anderssen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. A majority of this investment, according to founder Huffman, will be used to redesign the whole look and feel of reddit.com. The CEO is planning on rewriting the decade old code to develop a new, updated, suave look for the site, that will bring in more users. The company will focus on the desktop version, as the desktop version still attracts 80% of its 300 million active monthly users.
But things at Reddit have settled down since — and one thing that hasn’t changed much over the past decade is Reddit’s product. The network lets users post and comment on links akin to an early internet chatroom, and has amassed 300 million monthly visitors. But Reddit has also retained its early internet functionality and appearance — it still feels like a product that was created for the internet in 2005.
“We have a lot of perception debt,” Huffman said from the company’s San Francisco headquarters. “Reddit feels old. We don’t want to be associated with old.”
Huffman’s plan for the new funding includes a redesign of reddit.com — the company is literally re-writing all of its code, some of which is more than a decade old. An early version of the new design, which we saw during our interview, looks similar to Facebook’s News Feed or Twitter’s Timeline: A never-ending feed of content broken up into “cards” with more visuals to lure people into the conversations hidden underneath.
“We want Reddit to be more visually appealing,” he explained, “so when new users come to Reddit they have a better sense of what’s there, what it’s for.”
“We will have, probably relative to our peers, a longer desktop life because of text and keyboards,” Huffman said. “It’s easier to create text from a keyboard. And I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, it’s just a thing.”
Since the initial funding, which had the site to be valued at $500 million, Reddit has had to face a few controversies; one example was the sacking of Reddit’s comms director Victoria Taylor, this lead to a rather bad controversy in which former CEO Ellen Pao stepped down. Co-founder Steve Huffman replaced her and took up the mantle again.
The previous funding helped Reddit launch their mobile app in 2016. Since 2015, the company has seen 82.54 billion page views, 73.15 million submissions, 725.85 million comments, and 6.89 billion up-votes from its users.
As the smart phone boom continues, one might expect Reddit to improve their mobile app facilities. On the contrary, Reddit has rarely prioritized its mobile app, rather than focusing on catering their biggest customers (desktop users), but still it hasn’t stopped users from taking to the mobile app. Altman, one of the investors and the board member of Reddit, said that though mobile accounts for about 20% of Reddit’s users, it accounts for nearly 50% of the total time spent on the site. With a new round of funding, Reddit hopes to further it’s mobile app.
Reddit’s strength lies in its unique existence. A sub-Reddit is maintained and controlled by users and not the people working at Reddit. One can create his/her own community on Reddit and there is a very strong chance of it going viral depending on the content. Unlike most social-networking sites, spamming is not possible on Reddit as active moderators in each sub-Reddit scan the sub-Reddit on a timely basis and take down spam content. With the inclusion of bots, the sub-Reddit moderators have now upped their game.
With more and more investments, Reddit is most certainly on the rise. With most invested users, the site is growing strong and hence is attracting more investors. Although Reddit is not as popular in India (it ranks at 51 on Alexa India), with it’s increasing popularity in the west, Indians will most probably embrace Reddit.