Reddit, the wildly successful online community for sharing links, news, memes and beyond, was bought by old media mogul Conde Nast in 2006, back when reddit was more of an indie alternative to Digg. But today Conde relinquishes the reins: reddit is spinning out into an independent company, reddit Inc., under Conde owner Advance Publications, and is looking for a CEO.
So, where do you get one of those, Betabeat asked reddit general manager Erik Martin, a New Yorker who moved to San Francisco for the job a few months ago.
“Sam’s Club,” he said.
Despite butting heads with their old media overlords over things like advertisements for marijuana legalization campaigns, reddit’s traffic has grown more than fifty-fold since the acquisition. But the fast-growing site never quite fit in at Conde, which owns Wired and The New Yorker and has a dubious track record with adjusting to the digital media shift, and the companies started considering a severe adjustment to the relationship more than a few months ago, although Mr. Martin couldn’t place a date on exactly when things got serious. ”We’ve always been very vocal about times when we’ve felt restrained by being part of a big huge complicated media company,” general manager Erik Martin told Betabeat from San Francisco. “We have always wanted more independence.”
Right now only four Time Inc. titles–Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune–have gotten the tablet treatment. But the media giant says it’s planning to add its other 17 properties by the end of the year, a sign the company is still bullish on a market that continues to be dominated by Apple, which has yet to come to an agreement with Time over its cut of subscription fees from purchases made through the iTunes stores.
So despite the fact the more than 90 percent of consumer-owned tablet are still iPads, Time is diversifying to make its tablet editions available on Android, HP and the so called Hulu for magazines. Another revenue stream will come from subscription sold through the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.
Class Is in Session
For this week’s cover story about Condé Nast’s struggle developing for the iPad, Betabeat had the opportunity to talk to Khoi Vinh, former Design Director for NYTimes.com. On his widely-read design blog, Subtraction, Mr. Vinh has repeatedly expressed his skepticism toward publishers like Condé Nast and Hearst and software companies like Adobe for thinking that what iPad readers want is a magazine replica app that takes a print-centric approach to tablet design. But we didn’t get the chance to include some really interesting predictions Mr. Vinh made about the direction he thinks consuming content on the iPad is heading (in short: back to the browser) and what readers really want.
Mr. Vinh, who recently released a book on web design, seem to have contracted that start-up fever making its way around the city and is currently working in stealth mode on an app of his own. He compared the bells-and-whistles of the current magazine app rush to the CD-ROM bubble and advised publishers to think more like Netflix.
Old Dogs Learn New Tricks
Gilt Groupe just announced that its new men’s site, Park & Bond‒ a name that practically drips with the silver-spooned sound of privilege‒ will be partnering with Conde Nast’s GQ magazine on an e-commerce strategy. Not only will Park & Bond host an online store that features products “handpicked from the pages of the magazine by the editors of GQ.” But starting with the September issue, GQ is also promoting the venture in its pages and on GQ.com to drive readers to Park & Bond. Betabeat talked to Park & Bond president John Auerbach (Gilt employee no. 5), on the phone from the Pitti Immagine Uomo show in Italy, about the partnership‒and the genesis of that name.
Publishing giant Hearst has been vocal about putting its resources in tablets over paywalls. But today reporters got the first glimpse of just how much they are willing to invest in the new app economy. Hearst’s App Lab, up on the 41st floor of the Hearst Tower on 8th Avenue, isn’t just a “plush, windowless, gadget-filled” think tank for app development and advertising. It’s also staffed by 44 in-house developers, producers, editors and designers. What do they create? So far, 100 apps for the iPad and iPad, Google Android, the Nook, and Zinio’s Newsstand. The App Lab doesn’t just develop tablet editions of glossies. It’s also churning out spin-off apps like House Beautiful‘s paint colors app and Esquire‘s iPad puzzle app.Why should third-party developers have all the one-off fun?
“Conde buying Reddit domains… what does it mean???” we gchatted Reddit co-founder and advisor Alexis Ohanian today. ”Just that Reddit is taking over the world,” he typed back.
We had speculated that the URL shopping spree meant Conde Nast had some crazy big ambitions for Reddit verticals; sadly, it’s not so. There are no plans for Planet Reddit.
We got the real explanation for Conde Nast’s 285-domain land grab from Reddit general manager Erik Martin: “Just prudence. Much easier to protect them this way, instead of getting them back when spammers set up some site,” he said in an email. “Well, except for reddithockey.com…that’s going to be HUGE!!!”
Front Page Web
As Reddit’s traffic has boomed, rumors have swirled that Conde Nast may be shopping the site around to prospective buyers. Suspicions that something big is in the works came yesterday, when Conde Nast shelled out for 285 Reddit related domain names.
Fun Fun Fun
From the site that once made everyone an admin for a day: Reddit will be distributing invites to Reddit Mold today, an anti-premium version of the site that lucky Redditors can then gift to other users.
During his whistle stop tour of the web yesterday, Congressman Anthony Weiner made sure to hit all the big social sites: Twitter, Facebook and…Reddit.
Over the last year the social news site has quadrupled its traffic, breaking into the big time with a billion page views in the month of February. The Read More
Beloved mememaker Reddit.com had a good year, despite tensions with its owner, Conde Nast.
Reddit has perfected a model for sharing entertaining news, pictures and video. The site had been growing steadily, but a botched redesign at its main competitor, Digg, drove a huge bump in traffic to Reddit in August.
Digg Read More