Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reddit begins the holiday shopping season early, acquires

Reddit Secret SantaNews sharing social network Reddit has acquired, a popular independent gift exchange site created by Reddit community members, the company announced Tuesday.

Redditgifts is best known for organizing the world’s largest Secret Santa gift exchange and the mid-summer arbitrary gift giving event (appropriately named) Arbitrary Day. More recently, the site has organized specific exchanges for books, crafts and snacks.

For each event, Reddit users voluntarily sign up to participate in the exchange — filling out a profile of what they like and dislike as well as providing a link to their Reddit profile activity. Each participant is then randomly assigned a single Reddit user, who they will purchase a gift for.

The process of using a person’s Reddit activity to determine a thoughtful gift is surprisingly well-tailored for an activity like Secret Santa. (To better illustrate the process, I’ve embedded a photo of the first gift I received from the exchange: A microwave bacon crisper outfitted with images from the classic sci-fi TV show Doctor Who. Oddly enough, I listed only “Doctor Who” and “Bacon” as things I like on my Redditgifts’ profile.)

Since launching in late 2009, over 42,000 people in 106 countries participated in Reddit gift exchanges. Those participants spent nearly $1.5 million on gifts, according to statistics recorded by Redditgifts.

Until recently, the gift exchange site was run exclusively by long-time Reddit users Dan McComas and Jessica Moreno. As part of the acquisition deal, both will join the Reddit staff to work on the site full-time — with McComas becoming the Reddit gift exchange project manager and Moreno assuming the role of community manager.

“It became clear that what had started as a fun project had mutated from a fun nights & weekends project into a demanding 24/7 project. [The] 2011 Secret Santa is on pace to potentially have (over) 30,000 participants, and there’s no way Dan & Jessica could continue to run as a volunteer project,” wrote Reddit General Manager Erik Martin in a blog post. “We wanted to see Redditgifts grow, and we wanted Dan & Jessica to be able to invest even more time and energy into making Redditgifts even better. So, we figured out a way to bring them inside the Reddit family proper.”

For now, the two sites will remain separate. If the company does decide to merge Reddit accounts with Redditgifts accounts, users will be given an option to opt-in, according to Martin.

Because Reddit has dedicated house advertisement spots and written official blog posts in the past, it’s easy to understand why the acquisition of Redditgifts is a natural fit for the company. The gift exchange site also fits in nicely with the company’s revenue strategy, which centers around non-traditional advertising/promotion that doesn’t distract or anger its passionate community. Thus far, that strategy is working. In June, Reddit members were responsible for bringing in over 1.2 billion monthly page views.

The acquisition of Redditgifts also shines some light on Condé Nast’s (Reddit’s parent company) decision to purchase 285 Reddit-related domain names, including, and

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Tags: community news sharing site, gift exchange, Reddit, Secret Santa

Companies: Conde Nast, Reddit, Redditgifts

People: Dan McComas, Erik Martin, Jessica Moreno

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