There has been a lot of news over the past few months about the struggle between news forum Reddit and its parent company, Condé Nast. With Reddit’s main competitor, Digg, in a state of dissaray following a disasterous redesign, Condé has an opportunity to own the web’s biggest news forum, if it buries the hatchet and gives the site a real budget.
Back in July Reddit engineer Mike Schiraldi wrote a blog post about how Condé Nast wasn’t providing Reddit with a big enough budget. “We’ve been kinda bummed at Reddit these days. It seems like every week something comes up that slows performance to a crawl or even leads to a total site outage. And we almost never get a chance to release new features anymore.”
To get some perspective, Reddit has four full-time employees. Its competitor, Digg, has more than 60. The mainstream perception for a while now has been that Reddit’s traffic was also tiny compared to Digg. Turns out that’s not the case.
Digg founder Kevin Rose recently wrote that his site got more than 200 million views a month. This led Reddit’s Chris Slowe to cry foul. “Wow, we’re 40% bigger than them [Digg] now. Finally, we’ll get some respect in the press!” wrote Slowe. That same week the mainstream media referred to Reddit as a “tiny” operation, “dominated” and “dwarfed” by Digg.
Now is the time for Condé Nast to give Reddit the funds it needs to change that. Digg’s traffic has fallen 26% since it’s redesign in August. Many Digg’s power users have been defecting to Reddit. With a little push, especially in terms of media and communications, the site could take the spot as the number one news forum.
Condé has been looking at Reddit’s revenue, which is meager, and basing its budget off that metric. But owning one of the most powerful traffic drivers on the web is powerful in and of itself. Reddit could provide Condé with rich, realtime data on which articles are succeeding on the web and why, data that most publishers would pay a pretty penny for.
bpopper At observer.com