It’s hard to believe that the Reddit site has been around for nearly ten years, bolstering a unique Internet community and plenty of interactive sessions featuring a variety of professionals and superstars. That said, it’s been a little “odd” in certain cases, particularly with vulgar commentary and users that live for nothing more than to post weird pictures, such as the highly popular LOLcats (cats in humorous poses and costumes).

However, Reddit is looking to change this business model a bit, in the hopes of boosting the advertising side of the site. It’s looking to become a real contender in the Internet market when it comes to advertising, while still keeping most of the community it’s put together intact – which is hardly an easy task, considering that approximately 114 million users post to the site on a monthly basis.

The risk is changing the model so that it’s profitable, but still accessible. There were times when advertising changed a site’s model, such as MySpace, which resulted in disaster and, ultimately, a rebranding that still has yet to catch on.

“One of the things you have to be careful of when you have a site that’s 100 percent community-driven is how best to support that community and not make them feel like you’ve sold out,” said Kevin Rose, general partner at the venture capital firm Google Ventures. “You just don’t want that community to blow up on you.”

Rose co-founded Digg, another site that, at its peak, reached millions of users in terms of community, only for them to depart when changes were made in regards to advertising strategy.

The company has already begun moving forward with monetization programs, including a gift exchange where Reddit earns profit from participating vendors, as well as Reddit Gold, a premium membership program.

“If we’re thinking this hard about the user experience, why can’t we try a little harder about the monetization ” said Alexis Ohanian, a Reddit founder and one of the main members of the board.

Reddit recently hired Ellen Pao, a former partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in an attempt to produce a solid business strategy. “We’re not monetizing to the full extent that we could,” said Ms. Pao. “Our business comes from wanting to be able to continue to serve as a place where people build awesome communities.”

We’ll have to see how this saga unfolds in the months ahead. Do you think advertising will do Reddit good

Source: New York Times