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Monday, November 11, 2019

Condé Nast snaps Reddit

At the time, Digg and other social bookmarking services (like Delicious, before Yahoo! bought it) were hot, and Digg was WAY hotter than Reddit. When they did it, I thought Condé Nast must have been crazy, or that the corporate focus would kill Reddit the same way Yahoo! essentially killed Delicious.
There is no shortage of big companies who buy hot startups and don't have the corporate culture to run them. See also Murdoch and MySpace.
So it is easy to see WHY Conde bought Reddit. Same reason Microsoft bought the ad platform Atlas after Google snagged Doubleclick.
What is a harder question to answer is why Reddit not only survived, but became ascendant, as the other contenders fell by the wayside.
The Reddit user interface is uniformly awful, so a case study for me (as a user experience designer) is the notion that a pre-web designed legacy interface (or at least that's what it looks like, reeking of the days of Usenet, IRC, BBS's, and listservs) stayed true to its initial mission within an org like Conde (which hadn't done real well with Wired, or Hotwired, Suck, or Webmonkey) and won the audience share with a crappy interface.
As in, the moral of the story is, if you are the playground where everyone wants to play, your UX can suck and no one will notice. And that is not a comforting thought

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