- Associated Press - Monday, July 12, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Though it’s owned by a large media company, Reddit needs money, and it’s turning to its loyal audience for help.

Reddit, which Conde Nast’s Wired Digital bought in 2006, lets readers post links to articles, blogs, photos and other Web content. They can then click on arrows to push the links up and down the site’s rankings.

Reddit says it needs money to buy more servers to handle its increasing traffic. It also wants to hire a developer and a Web designer to join its current staff of five full-timers and a part-timer.

But Reddit says it won’t get the money it needs from Conde Nast because the site doesn’t bring in enough ad revenue. The ads it runs are small and unobtrusive _ not very lucrative _ and that isn’t something Reddit wants to change, said Chris Slowe, Reddit’s senior programmer, on Monday.

And like the generation that’s learned to skip past or tune out TV ads, Slowe said Reddit’s own community “doesn’t work well” with traditional online advertising.

“Most users today are either running (ad-blocking software) or are totally immune to ads,” he said.

As a result, sites aimed at today’s Web-savvy users experiment with other forms of making money. Some sell T-shirts and merchandise; others, such as Yahoo Inc.’s photo-sharing site Flickr, offer premium services, including more storage, for a fee. Conde Nast-owned tech news site Ars Technica, too, offers a “premier” subscription service for $50 a year.

In response to last Friday’s blog post requesting contributions, Slowe said Reddit has seen “thousands of people” donate, but would not go into details on the amount raised.

In exchange, Reddit is offering subscriptions. Right now, those only come with Reddit’s “undying gratitude,” as Reddit’s Mike Schiraldi put it, plus a trophy with the site’s cute alien logo on the user’s page.

If the program works, there will be more in store for subscribers. For now, though, a heartfelt thank you will have to do. And Reddit says it will also give a “gold” account to anyone who takes the time out to mail the site a postcard.

“We figure we can use them to decorate the office, or we can keep them in a sack in case we ever need to have a Miracle on 34th Street moment,” Reddit wrote in its help section explaining “Reddit gold.”

Conde Nast is part of the privately held media company Advance Publications Inc., which is run by the Newhouse family and publishes Vogue, Vanity Fair and the New Yorker among other magazines. It also owns the food website Epicurious and pop culture travel site Jaunted.

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