How Reddit got its first users?

reddit 2006 mvp

Two students from the University of Virginia, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, planned to make a sandwich-ordering app. They've signed up for Paul Graham's Y Combinator – an incubator for small businesses. Graham advised boys to make a news-like "board" with links instead. That's how the idea of Reddit (coming from "Read It") was born.

The concept was simple: users would add links to other sites, and others could tell if those links are cool or not. There were some troubles with the initial Reddit user acquisition, so the guys have found a questionable solution. They began faking traffic by publishing links from previously made fake accounts. Up until more  genuine users started gathering, Reddit had no subreddits. Over time, the bogus accounts were taken offline, and Reddit user acquisition strategies began to work.

One of the starting Reddit business growth tactics was putting all the users in the same place in order to create a "sense" of a “business” of the platform. A group of 100 users on one forum makes a far better effect than a few 10-user groups, scattered across several subforums. It served as a nice gimmick for the Reddit marketing.

Nearly right from the beginning, Reddit was censorship free, which was another important strategy for the Reddit business growth. Not Safe For Work (NSFW) had the highest popularity among all of the subreddits. It made for about 10% of the entire traffic.

Reddit users got the possibility to create their own subreddits three years after the site's launch. That small detail  contributed to the increase in the Reddit user acquisition process.


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