Doing More With Less… Reddit

The last of my blog posts on the patterns of web 2.0 will focus on the idea of doing more with less or more concisely using lightweight models & cost-effective scalability in order to build a scalable, cost-effective strategy encompassing business models, development models, and technology to deliver products to market faster and cheaper without sacrificing future growth (Watson, 2011). Web 2.0 has enabled this new trend in online business by offering a number of facets:

  • The decreasing price of hardware, bandwidth, and software
  • Open source, easy to access software
  • Companies have learnt from the dot com bust in the late 90s
  • The success of word of mouth and the viral marketing in todays online world
  • Agile development models (Google Offers Example)
One example of a company who has followed this approach in order to build a successful business for its self is Reddit:

Reddit is a social news website that was launched back in 2005, the main function of the website is to allow users (know as redditors, on the site)  to submit links to content they have found on the web, these can range from virtually anything, users are also able to submit posts that contain their own thoughts and opinions. The rest of the Reddit online community is then able to vote the posts up or down with the most successful links gaining prominence by reaching the front page. Reddit also attempts to organise the topics of the posts by placing them into communities (called subreddits on the site) – Although to date there are over 67,000 communities  to view, which just seems a tad excessive in my opinion.

Reddit wasn’t the first web site to create this social news phenomenon, but it has been successfully in steadily increasing its user base. One of its rivals Digg has recently seen the number of visitors to its site drop, with many users of Digg moving over to the rival Reddit. Why is this? Many believe its due to Digg’s change in online software, which turned many users away – further proving how importnat it is to get online web applications right, even if they are free.

Site Visits To Reddit & its biggest competitor Digg

In the early part of this year, the former co-founder of Reddit – Alexis Ohanian wrote a blog post discussing why he believes Reddit has become so successful. Redit now attracts over 1 million page views a month and is currently listed as a top 100 website. According to Alexis Ohanian the success of Reddit is down to three things:

  1. The Software: Reddit’s commenters operate in a system that quickly promotes the good and hides the bad… making the news stream extremely efficient.
  2. Enpowered Users: News thats curated by the readers, not editors… sounds very web 2.0 right?!
  3. Nurtured community: Listening to its users.
Its no coincidence then that Reddit also seems to compare favourably to Tim O’Reillys web 2.0 pattern definition – lightweight models & cost-effective scalability. Below are some other facets of the pattern that i believe increases Reddit’s success.
  • Scale Pricing & Revenue Models: Reddit has a number of membership models ranging from the free account to a month subscription based appraoch. While the site also sells advertising opportunities like many other web 2.0 ventures.
  • Scales fast: Despite becoming a top 100 website and buying up more storage space, Reddit still only employees 4 engineers to maintain its 48TB of disk memory and 44.4 trillion bytes of data.

How does the future look for Reddit? Reddit’s ability to be agile and be cost effective in scaling has lead it to be successful and while its competitors are laying workers off, Reddit continues to grow and will do for the foreseeable future – although how it will react to the webs ever changing environment will determine if its successful or become just another Digg.

Further Reading:

Reddit Overtakes Digg

Reddit Grows 230%

Wikipedia – Reddit

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