Social news site Redditt will soon allow corporations to brand their own communities on the site, Future of Media is reporting.
The move will give companies new marketing avenues on the influential link-sharing and discussion site, which receives 1.2 billion page views a month. And it could give Reddit, which has struggled with funding in the past, an important new revenue source.
Companies have always been able to create their own sebreddits, or sections on the site, but content promotion on Reddit is notoriously difficult. Posts rise and fall based on a democratic voting system, and users patrol for spam with unusual alacrity.
But now, companies won’t have to go at it alone. Instead, they can create and moderate their own communities under the consultation of Reddit and its partner on the project, Sequentia Environics, an Internet community marketing firm.
Initial reaction from redditors was mixed.
Most seemed less concerned about the move’s effect on the site than they were skeptical of its value to companies.
“I don't see a problem with this as long as nobody forces me to subscribe to those communities,” wrote redditor IAmAnAnonymousCoward, “but I'm a bit skeptical if companies really want to expose themselves to the Reddit environment.”
That’s because users of the site, who often post under pseudonymous names, can be brutally honest. Others worried that trolls -- Internet pranksters -- would make any kind of corporate community outreach valueless.
But Reddit general manager Erik Martin didn’t shy away from these concerns. As is frequently the case, he dove into the discussion on the site, where he posts under the name hueypriest.
“I too am skeptical about most companies wanting to do this,” Martin, wrote. “It is NOT for everyone, and we wouldn't work with someone unless they were serious about doing it right.’”
Besides, he added, any company that takes the plunge will know what they’re getting into.
”They are companies who want to talk to the smartest, most opinionated, and hardest to bullshit people on the internet,” Martin wrote. “And they know some of you are going to use bad words. It's cool.”
Regardless, the move signifies the potential for big new corporate footprints on the site. The Daily Dot will be following the effects of the change -- and the community’s reactions -- closely.
Martin sent this clarification to the Daily Dot:
"The point of these [branded communities] is not 'content promotion'. It is more for R&D, feedback, and market research and conversations with real actual engineers, designers, editors etc at the brands. You know all that awesome conversation stuff that is supposed to be happening on Twitter and Facebook, but is now being polluted with toothless social media reps."