I Can Has Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh Publicly Offers to Buy Reddit from Condé Nast
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the Prop 19 ad turned the issue into a bigger one than it needed to be.
“A lot of companies make this mistake—they don’t want to run marijuana ads for whatever reason, and because they don’t run them, it turns into a much bigger deal. If they’d run the ad, no one would have batted an eye,” he said. “But in true form, Condé decided to make an issue.”
Condé Nast, which also owns Wired, purchased Reddit in 2006. Co-founders Huffman and Ohanian both left the company at the end of October 2009, when their contracts were up. And according to Huffman, the folks at Reddit have been frustrated with Condé for a long time.
“When we were bought, the message was ‘Don’t worry about money, just do the site,’” he says. “Then when the economy took a downturn, Condé stopped hiring all over, which makes sense. And now they’ve recovered in a sense, and they’re [Reddit] still not able to hire.”
The site, according to Huffman, is managed by just four developers, even though its traffic has grown ten-fold since Reddit was brought under the Condé Nast umbrella less than four years ago. And just like any other startup, Reddit needs ways to make money. But when an opportunity for advertising came along, Huffman says, Condé Nast denied them the opportunity.
“Condé’s been saying, you guys have to figure out how to make money, which is the opposite of what they told us for the first three years, and now that they have an opportunity to make money, they don’t let them. It’s like, well what do you want?” he says.
“I think a lot of their decisions are run by PR—they don’t want to run a marijuana ad, because they’ll look bad. They don’t want to sell Redddit because they’ll look bad. But they look like fools now. Reddit gets more traffic than all of their other sites combined, and it’s run by four people. Their other sites are run by hundreds of people.”
And although he’s no longer involved in Reddit, Huffman says he would “would love to see somebody buy the site,” though he’s not sure it should be Huh. In fact, he’s been encouraging other people to consider buying Reddit from Condé Nast. The site is popular, he says, and needs more resources to thrive. Whether Condé Nast would agree to sell, however, is another question.