Wired buys reddit content-rating site


NEW YORK -- Wired Digital, the Web home of Conde Nast Publications's Wired magazine, said Tuesday it has purchased reddit, a Boston-based technology startup, for an undisclosed amount.

Reddit's Web site lets users submit links to news, blog posts and other Web pages. Stories then move up or down reddit's home page based on votes they receive from users.

The startup has also licensed its technology to companies such as Gawker Media, which runs several popular blogs. This spring, Conde Nast had a chance to kick the tires when it launched Lipstick.com, a site devoted to celebrity gossip links.

While most of Conde Nast's operations, including the CondeNet online division, are based in New York, the four members of the reddit team will move to Wired's San Francisco office.

Reddit, which clocked about 90,000 unique visitors per day before the deal was announced, will continue to operate under its own name and pursue additional licensing deals.

Allowing reddit to continue to flourish -- albeit with Conde Nast's considerable resources behind it -- is key to the acquisition strategy, said Kourosh Karimkhany, Wired Digital's general manager.

Conde Nast is a major magazine publisher whose other titles include the New Yorker, Vogue, Gourmet and Vanity Fair. It's part of the privately held media company Advance Publications Inc., which is run by the Newhouse family.

"We really like the social news aggregation model, and as a business it's growing very rapidly," said Karimkhany. Unlike the traditional magazine model, readers can use reddit to "have a say in what's worth looking at."

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, 23, said similarities between Wired readers and reddit's users make the deal a natural fit, but he said he can also see the technology working for CondeNet's Style.com and Epicurious.com sites.

Ohanian started reddit with Steve Huffman, a classmate from the University of Virginia, and 19-year-old Aaron Swartz, with early funding from Y Combinator, a Cambridge, Mass.-based venture firm and incubator.

"Probably the biggest thing Conde Nast liked about us, we're a small team, we're willing to experiment," Huffman, 23, said.

Other companies also provide news filtering services such as Digg and Time Warner Inc.'s revamped Netscape.

Steve Newhouse, who oversees Conde Nast's Internet arm, said reddit had "captured a great position in a very interesting niche on the Web."