The social news site Reddit, home to thousands of digital communities, wants to help out a cornerstone of many real-world communities: small businesses.
For the month of November, small businesses can advertise for free in local sections, or subreddits, of the site, Reddit announced on its official blog late yesterday. The ads usually cost about $100 to run for three days.
“Over the past year we’ve seen a huge increase in local subreddits,” said Erik Martin, Reddit’s general manager. The move, he added, is more a reaction to the site’s growth than part of a bigger plan.
That’s a serendipitous coincidence for Reddit. Local advertising is a big money-maker for social sites. One recent report estimated that location-based ads bring in four times more revenue than their more traditional counterparts.
And, Martin believes Reddit has something special to offer.
Unlike social networks like Facebook or search engines like Google, which track your location from smart phones’ GPS signals and IP numbers, respectively, Reddit uses a much simpler method for identifying your geography: you decide.
Reddit has at least 400 local subreddits, according to a partial list available here. To show you’re affiliation, all you have to do is click the subscribe button.
“I think our format and our community is much more interesting than just throwing something up on Google ads,” Martin said. “There’s much more of a chance for a human connection.”
On Reddit, for instance, businesses have the opportunity to directly interact with customers. Martin said the goal is to find advertising that provides the “best experience” for its nearly 30 million monthly visitors—offering ads for free is a smart way to experiment.
Since the announcement yesterday, more than 100 companies have signed up for the free ads, which began running today.
In the comments to the blog post, small business owners were understandably thrilled at the chance to advertise for free.
“This is awesome,” redditor PesonalRobotGenius wrote. “My restaurant’s been in a slump, and I’ve been having trouble with financing a good advertising budget … I might be able to bring in some new customers finally! Thanks, Reddit.”
Photo by duluoz_cats