I Can Has Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh Publicly Offers to Buy Reddit from Condé Nast

8/30/10

[Updated with comments from Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, 6:35 pm] I Can Has Cheezburger‘s Ben Huh extended an offer to purchase Condé Nast’s online user-generated news aggregation site Reddit.com last week, amidst an online debate over politically controversial advertising, according to VentureBeat.

In a post on the Seattle-based humor network’s pop culture site, The Daily What, Huh offered to buy Reddit after Condé Nast, following in the steps of Facebook, refused to run promotional ads for California’s Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana for personal use for those 21 and older. The decision resulted in backlash from Reddit users and administrators, who disagreed with Condé Nast’s decision to turn away advertising dollars. The Reddit admins even released a statement calling for the community to petition the decision.  Condé Nast responded that, “As a corporation, Condé Nast does not want to benefit financially from this particular issue.”

Huh took the opportunity to jump into the fray, proposing to take the issue and the rest of Reddit off of Condé Nast’s hands. In his post on The Daily What, Huh wrote, “I believe that Reddit is one of the best communities I have seen on the Internet. I also believe that Reddit would benefit from more resources and less corporate interference. We can offer all of the above. And we’d love to buy Reddit and all those pesky troublesome users that we love so much.”

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian responded on his blog that he would be “very surprised if Reddit were sold.” However, given Huh’s success with the Cheezburger network, he added, perhaps humorously, that he and the Reddit team might benefit from meeting over cheeseburgers to further discuss the offer.

Huh purchased the original I Can Has Cheezburger site from two entrepreneurs in Hawaii in 2007, and has since built up the humor network to encompass over 50 sites, including its best-known staple, LOLcats. Cheezburger has been steadily growing ever since, and now has nearly 50 employees, including the company’s first full-time CFO, who was hired in June.

Last month Huh’s network entered into a content partnership with Seattle-based global media organization Getty Images, giving readers the ability to doodle and caption Getty photos and repost them on the network’s ROFL Razzi and Pundit Kitchen sites. A similar deal between Cheezburger and the Associated Press fell through earlier this month, after the wire service said the partnership could potentially jeopardize its “journalistic integrity.” Cheezburger is currently in talks with Corbis Images, and Huh says the humor network will continue to seek out content partnerships with other media organizations. Read more on Huh’s public offer to purchase Reddit at VentureBeat.

[Updated, 6:35 pm] I caught up with Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, who shared his thoughts on the both the advertisement debate, and Huh’s offer. He says Condé Nast’s decision to not run … Next Page »

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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