Can Reddit Grow Up ? - NYTimes.com
The main focus, though, is advertising, a small but growing effort. Four months ago, the company added staff to its sales team, which now has seven people.
It has also hired Ellen Pao, a former partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, to head up business strategy.
“We’re not monetizing to the full extent that we could,” said Ms. Pao, who made headlines two years ago when she sued Kleiner Perkins in a sexual harassment case. “Our business comes from wanting to be able to continue to serve as a place where people build awesome communities.”
That community is potentially a big prize for advertisers. Links that grow popular on the site often drive a surge of traffic elsewhere online. The activity has caught the attention of brands eager to show ads to large, enthusiastic audiences.
Reddit has struggled with advertising from the start. For years Reddit tried, and failed, to get more resources out of Condé Nast, its former parent company, to expand and maintain its business, say people familiar with the internal workings of Reddit, who declined to be named because of continuing ties to the company.
In 2011, Reddit was spun out as an independent company; Condé Nast remains a majority shareholder. A Condé Nast spokeswoman said Reddit currently operates independently by design.
At the moment, others may monetize Reddit’s content even better than Reddit. Staff members at the website Buzzfeed routinely mine Reddit for popular photos and memes, then repackage that content into so-called listicles that go viral. Buzzfeed boasts more than 130 million monthly visitors — more than Reddit. Last year, Disney considered acquiring Buzzfeed for nearly $1 billion.