Reddit adds a crowdfunding layer for its members — are you paying attention, media companies?

Reddit has made a number of changes since it raised $50 million in financing earlier this year, including a project to create its own Bitcoin-style cryptocurrency, and now it has launched a crowdfunding platform called Redditmade, which is designed to give its members the ability to run Kickstarter-like campaigns within Reddit. For a site that is all about community, this seems like a smart move — and one that should get more traditional media companies thinking.

The new platform looks very similar to sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, in that there is a time limit of 30 days in which a campaign has to reach its goal or be eliminated. But Reddit’s version at least initially is focused much more on the charitable side of the crowdfunding equation, in that many of the campaigns are set up to give their proceeds to charitable groups.

Any Reddit moderator — that is, the volunteers who run the various threads or sub-Reddits — can create a campaign on Redditmade and have it associated with their group, and non-moderators can also create them and then apply to have their campaign associated with a specific sub-Reddit. As the site describes it:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]One of the biggest reasons we created redditmade was to allow subreddits an easy way to create official subreddit merch for their communities. Whatever you want to make, we’ll connect you to our network of quality sourcing partners for a variety of products and walk you through every step of the process so your community can celebrate your connection and show off your pride.[/blockquote]

Reddit crowdfunding

The project seems like a natural fit with Reddit’s venture into cryptocurrencies as well, since that would keep almost every aspect of the enterprise within the Reddit family. And moderators who create campaigns with Redditmade can also run advertisements for their merchandise or project using the Reddit ad network, at reduced rates.

Some might wonder why Reddit would bother setting up such a platform when there are already well-established services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo that Reddit members could use, but I think it’s a smart move by the site to create services that add value for users, rather than sending them away to other platforms. The technical setup of a crowdfunding service isn’t all that difficult, so why not create something that promotes loyalty to Reddit and benefits users?

Reddit knows — and presumably its financial backers also know — that whatever value or power the company has lies in its community, and the dedication and goodwill that community has towards Reddit and towards each other. Any tools it can develop that help that community, such as its real-time journalism features or the mobile app it just acquired, are going to help cement that value.

I’ve often talked about how Reddit is an alternative media entity, one that started with the people and then added the journalistic efforts — as opposed to starting with the news and trying to add the people, which is what most traditional media outlets have done. What they have in common is the need to create the kind of strong community relationships that will help them succeed in the future, and in that sense Reddit is way ahead of most of its competitors.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Thinkstock / Mangostock