What do Dallas Buyer’s Club star (and Oscar winner) Jared Leto, “Gin and Juice” rapper Snoop Dogg, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Sequoia Capital’s Alfred Lin and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have in common?
They’re all Redditors. And they just joined together to pony up $50 million to give the popular site a capital infusion.
Reddit, which bills itself as The Front Page of the Internet, is a different kind of place. Not quite as rough-hewn as 4Chan — though they do rub elbows — Reddit can be thought of as a forum where links are posted and upvoted or downvoted. But it’s not just a social bookmarking and ranking site.
Reddit is built from various categories of interest — called subreddits — that cater to nearly every taste, whim, fetish, and fancy imaginable. You can find material and discussions on anything from male fashion advice to atheism to cat pictures.
But there is more. Links to off-Reddit material are a big part, but so are pictures. The popular image-hosting site, Imgur, was created specifically for Reddit users to host on rather than wind up with dead links from other hosting sites.
Occasionally, their image-sharing ways have gotten Reddit in some hot water. A former subreddit (now eliminated) called Jailbait was seen by some as skirting the edge of underage pornography. The powers-that-be at Reddit nixed it.
But recently the release of tons of celebrity nudes, hacked from cloud storage accounts, was another scandal Reddit had to live down. The release didn’t even originally happen on Reddit, but members quickly disseminated the photos of Jennifer Lawrence and others in a wave of posting known as “The Fappening”. Moderators quashed the threads quickly, but not before tons of people got the photos.
Nonetheless, Reddit has earned its place in today’s Internet landscape. And celebs like Leto have joined with investors like Andreessen to help keep the lights on at Reddit.
Reddit is currently maintained by a staff of 60 people. Reddit’s mobile reach is limited to a few poorly-designed apps. They plan to use that $50 million to add some features, hire more staff, and build a mobile product.