The team behind popular social news recommendation tool Reddit, owned by media giant Condé Nast (whose titles include Wired and Vogue), have tonight launched a pay-what-you-wish subscription program, dubbed "reddit gold", in a bid to increase resources to allow the site to continue to grow.
The site, which in recent times has struggled to maintain uptime and speed, currently only has four engineers - who say they're working "full time" in a desperate bid "just to keep things going" and are "reaching the limits of sustainability."
Reddit isn't a money-making machine, pulling in very little from on-site advertising when compared to other Condé Nast properties, despite having more than 280 million visits a month. And the team behind Reddit are quick to point out their budget suffers as a result.
"Here's the thing: corporations aren't run like charities. They keep separate budgets for each business line, and usually allocate resources proportionate to revenue. And reddit's revenue isn't great," the team wrote on their blog tonight.
In a bid to increase their funds to hire more staff and eventually buy new servers, Reddit has unveiled a new paid subscription program -- with a twist. By being a paid member, you don't actually get anything different from free accounts except for an optional trophy for your account page and the promise of "better incentives" in the coming months. There's also no set price to join - you can choose how much you pay. Reddit says they have "no idea" what they should be charging - so they've left it up to the users to decide.
And for those expecting more ads to appear on the site as the team look to boost revenue - you're safe, for now. Reddit says they want to try some "new things" first, including the subscription program, before resorting to "a giant fast food ad covering half the front page" or "pop-ups asking you to punch a poor innocent monkey".