The world’s most popular online forum reddit is getting into the crowdfunding corner of the Internet with its announcement Thursday that it is launching redditmade, a crowdfunding platform unique to its users.
You’ve probably heard of reddit, but unless you’ve visited the site, you may not know what it is. Basically, it’s a forum where anyone can anonymously post any type of content, comment and vote on how interesting the content is. The content can be a picture, an online article, a true or fictional story, a GIF, and so on. Every post belongs to a category, or subreddit, and if a category doesn’t exist, users can create one. Since its inception in 2005, users, called redditors, have grown to a community of over 174 million users from 186 countries worldwide.
So why did reddit get into the crowdfunding game? Well, redditors sort of asked for it, says Sean Forsgren, product manager at reddit for redditmade. “We decided to get into crowdfunding because we got a constant stream of requests for community-specific products,” Forsgren said in an email. Demand, meet supply.
Crowdfunding is a fundraising method that’s been around since long before the Internet. How it works is simple: a campaign is created with a monetary goal in mind, and anybody compelled by the cause can donate. Word is spread through social media and viral sharing online; the most successful campaigns rely heavily on social media. Eventually, the donations from friends, family and anonymous donors add up until the campaign is funded.
Crowdfunding platforms today exist to fund just about everything. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the most famous, helping users raise funds to start businesses or launch creative projects. Other platforms like GiveForward are dedicated to crowdfunding for medical bills and other charitable causes, while some exist just for nonprofits.
Now, there’s a new platform that caters to users’ love of all things reddit. Specifically, redditmade allows users to design a reddit-themed product, create a campaign and designate a price and number of units to sell. Other users then pledge to purchase the item, and if the campaign receives enough pledges within 30 days, the product is created. The redditor who conceived of the product can keep any proceeds, but reddit strongly encourages donating all or a portion of proceeds.
All of that is what makes redditmade unique as a crowdfunding platform, says Forsgren. “We’re involved. We are very specific to our community with a heavy dose of charitable giving.”
The scope of services provided also makes redditmade unique. “We are providing more of the services that other platforms do not,” says Forsgren. Reddit staff oversees production and distribution and helps with the design, if needed. Like other crowdfunding platforms, reddit also helps users spread the word during the campaign.
The first campaigns are already up and running, mostly for subreddit-themed T-shirts, but there are also stickers, pins, and a cocktail book campaign.
To pay for the redditmade service, reddit takes a portion of the proceeds from the products, according to the New York Times. This is not uncommon; in order to pay for the website and staff that runs it, crowdfunding sites generally charge a fee of about 5% to 10% of total contributions.
If you’re a redditor with a great product idea, you can head over to redditmade to get your campaign started.