Do you block the ads on sites you love? Would you be less likely to do that if you knew a chunk of ad revenues were going to a good cause?
That’s (at least part of) the thinking behind a new idea that reddit — a site that’s so big at this point I honestly feel like explaining what it is on TechCrunch would be stupid — is playing with. At the end of 2014, they’ll be donating 10% of their yearly ad revenue to non-profit organizations picked by the community.
“But wait!” you say. “Is reddit even profitable yet?”
Nope — but they’re close. Close enough that they’re comfortable giving away 10% of the ad money they take in, even if that means it takes a bit longer before they’re breaking even. Says reddit CEO Yishan Wong in the comments of the announcement:
We’re getting closer to closing the gap. Yes, doing this will widen the gap again but people are right: we think this is good for non-profits AND we are working to increase ad revenue by more than 11.1% anyhow.
So it’s less about a numbers game as it is trying to align things even more between ads and the will of the community, because we want to have the right business model.
Also found in the comments? An overwhelming number of people complimenting Yishan on his historically correct use of the word “decimate” (as in, to kill off one in every 10 soldiers, a form of self-punishment used by the Roman Army) in the post’s title, “Decimating Our Ads Revenue”. Because this is reddit we’re talking about, and reddit loves it some grammar. Now that I’ve mentioned grammar, I’m sure I’ve made at least 200 grammar mistakes in this sentence alone.
At the end of the year, reddit will ask the community for their votes on which non-profits should get the cash. From there, it’ll be distributed (based on percentage of votes) to the top 10 suggestions. To keep trolls from poisoning the good will well, reddit is putting in a few sanity checks: they’ll only give money to verified non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, and they’re reserving the right to nix any suggestions.