On Friday, Reddit made an announcement that it would be donating ten percent of its 2014 ad revenue to charity.
According to a blog post by Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, Reddit will calculate its ad revenue at the end of the year, and then let Redditors nominate and vote on the non-profits they’d most like to support. Once the community has determined its top ten non-profits — and yes, Reddit reserves the right to ignore all suggestions from trolls, the post says — the site will distribute the funds proportionally among the winning charities, based on how many votes each one received.
The plan is an indication that Reddit, which has never turned a profit, is coming closer to breaking even.
Mr. Wong wrote in the comments section of the blog post:
“We’re getting closer to closing the gap. Yes, doing this will widen the gap again but people are right: we think this is good for non-profits AND we are working to increase ad revenue by more than 11.1% anyhow.
So it’s less about a numbers game as it is trying to align things even more between ads and the will of the community, because we want to have the right business model.”
Though the initiative is undoubtedly really nice, we suspect it also serves the purpose of dealing with Redditors’ widespread dislike of the site’s ads. Very basically, many Redditors say they use ad blocking software, which can greatly decrease a site’s ad revenue. But are you really going to use an ad blocker if you know you’re potentially decreasing the amount of money that’ll be sent to a charity?
“We want to show that advertising doesn’t just support the reddit platform, it also directly supports the causes and goals of reddit as a whole,” Mr. Wong wrote in the blog post.
Whatever the case, giving to charity is always nice. A Reddit spokesperson wouldn’t give us a prediction of 2014’s total ad revenue, but he seemed certain that the ten percent would amount to something worthwhile.
“We’ll just have to wait till the end of the year to find out,” he told Betabeat in an email. “We know it’ll be enough to make a difference for the charities that reddit users select, but beyond that we just don’t know yet.”