Wired Acquires Reddit News Service

SAN FRANCISCO Wired Digital, parent company of the Wired.com technology portal, has acquired the Reddit social news service for an undisclosed sum.

Boston-based Reddit was founded around the same time as Digg. Although Reddit has a loyal user base, it attracts significantly less traffic. Reddit’s four employees will move to Wired’s San Francisco office, but the site will remain to operate autonomously, the company said on its blog.

“We’re still going to be the guys reading your feedback e-mails and keeping Reddit chugging along,” the company said. “We’ve also been given about as much autonomy as an acquired company could get. In fact, they’ve insisted that we focus on growing Reddit. With their resources, we’re looking to do some neat things in the coming months.”

Similar to Digg, Reddit allows users to submit content and lets visitors vote for the most interesting story. Popular stories are then promoted to the front page.

Reddit is different from Digg, however, in allowing users to disapprove of submitted content as well. A negative vote decreases a story’s overall vote count as well as the “karma score” for the user who submitted the URL.

Users voting on comments further impact the karma scores. Reddit claims that the score is used for bragging rights only.

Digg has said that it uses a karma score to battle spam. Users gain karma points when the stories they submit are promoted to the front page. A user’s karma score is then used to weigh his or her vote. Critics have charged that this system has spawned a group of elite “diggers” who can effectively control which stories end up on the service’s front page.