Known as "the front page of the Internet," Reddit is moving into new territory with the launch of a crowdfunding platform called Redditmade. Announced on Wednesday, the platform rolling out in open beta allows Reddit users to design and create t-shirts, sticker packs, books and other items with the help of monetary pledges from other Redditors.
The new Redditmade site has much in common with other crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. On Redditmade, however, each campaign's goal specifies how many copies of the product the creator wants to sell, rather than how much money he or she wants to raise.
Creators of campaigns have 30 days in which to reach their goal of would-be buyers. If they reach that goal by the deadline, Reddit will produce the item for sale and the creator can either keep the profits or donate them to a Reddit charity fund.
'Long Wishlist of Dreams and Goals'
While anyone will be able to launch a crowdfunding campaign on the platform, Reddit said it designed Redditmade as a way for subReddit communities -- separate areas with moderated discussions on everything from bitcoins to Android to "Today I learned" -- to create official merchandise for their sections.
Official subReddit crowdfunding campaigns led by a section moderator will received a "featured" designation, and can also receive free advertising on the associated subReddit if space is available. If other members of a subReddit community create a campaign specific to that section, Reddit will notify the moderator to ask whether he or she wants to endorse the proposed product as an official subReddit item.
Reddit said it has a "long wish list of dreams and goals for Redditmade." It is also asking Redditors for their comments and suggestions, and has posted a feedback form to users to describe their experience with the platform.
New Funding, New Directions
Reddit has been pushing its business into many new directions in recent months. Long a relatively small and -- for an Internet technology company -- low-budget venture, it kicked off a new push for growth last year and now employs more than 60 people.
At the end of last month, it also announced it had closed on a $50 million round of funding that drew investors including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, actor Jared Leto and rapper-actor Snoop Dogg. It said it would use the funds to hire additional staff for product development, expand its community management teams and work with third-party developers to expand its mobile offerings.
In September, Reddit rolled out its first official mobile app, which allows smartphone users to participate in its popular "Ask Me Anything" Q&A feature. And earlier this month, the company announced its acquisition of Alien Blue, a third-party app that is now Reddit's official app for iPhone and iOS device owners who want to use the site.
Reddit has nearly 8,200 subReddit communities and sees more than 174 million unique visitors and over 6.1 billion page views every month. As of 2013, it had yet to report a profit.