Reddit CEO Admits The Site Once Bowed To Pressure From Sears

Reddit CEO
Yishan Wong has made good on his promise to publish a chart of Reddit’s revenuesvs. expenses so that readers can see how profitable the company isn’t.

Much of Reddit’s revenues come from advertising.

He also made good on his promise not to put any numbers on the chart. “Numbers have been removed to thwart would-be Wall Street analysts,” he wrote in a blog post about the progress of the corporate side of Reddit.

Wong also confirmed a hoary piece of early Reddit history: That Sears once successfully persuaded Reddit to remove a link mocking the company:

With the exceptions of a handful of incidents in very early years (e.g. Sears), none of reddit’s owners or investors have ever bothered to exercise influence over reddit’s operations or editorial decisions. Even reddit’s servers are controlled via an AWS account not shared with any other entity, only reddit administrators have access to it. Control of this account was also never transferred to or shared with Condé Nast during the period when they were owners of reddit.

The Sears incident occurred in 2009. Redditors figured it out, triggering a backlash and a “f— Sears” campaign that drove anti-Sears links onto to the front page. Although the anti-Sears campaign claimed Sears was a Reddit advertiser, Wong did not say whether Sears advertised on Reddit at the time.

Lastly, Wong said Reddit was not preparing to go public:

reddit is not preparing to sell or do an IPO. We value our independence more than money, and the company was already acquired once before (by Condé Nast) and survived due to a rare instance of corporate benevolence/indifference. Other companies who sell themselves usually don’t end up so lucky, while going public (IPO) means having to answer to short-term shareholders and irrational market pressures. We don’t want to risk either of those.

Condé Nast / Advance also never wanted to sell reddit, and rejected offers to buy the site, instead electing to spin it out into an independent entity and take a lessened ownership position specifically because they felt that a standalone reddit would be far more successful, culturally significant, and (one day) profitable.

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