There’s something new going on at Reddit reports MediaMemo. The Digg like news aggregator that Conde Nast purchased a few years ago is sporting some new links at the top of their page. Unlike the average link that appears because users voted it into this spot, these new links—which look remarkably similar to standard Reddit links—are actually sponsored ads placed by the sales and marketing department of Conde Nast Digital.
So far the sponsored links—which do have a “sponsored link” tag—have succeeded in two ways: click-through rates for the ads are running at around five percent—higher than the industry average—and Reddit users haven’t complained.
Reddit now attracts five million unique visitors a month, up from one and a half million uniques when the publisher bought the site. The Reddit community is very vocal and anti-advertsing—around 20 percent of Reddit users have ad-blocking software on their computers—so the fact that they have not fought back in this first major attempt to monetize the network is a spectacular feat.
Of course even the CMP for these ads—Conde charges $7 for every 1,000 views of the ad—does not bring the company a torrent of cash. Josh Stinchcomb, head of sales and marketing for the business group of Conde’s digital properties says they are toying with the idea of creating a cost-per-click/performance model. This would be the first for model of its kind for the company.
Digg, Reddit’s progenitor, is also considering creating a similar link model for its site. Though the business has been valuated at around $40 million, the actual revenue for the site has been quite small.
So it seems this area is ripe for experimentation and for the first time Conde Nast might be on the cutting edge. Of course, as TechMeme notes “we’ve seen versions of this model for as long as we’ve had mass media.”