Tag Archives: recode

Kara Swisher: “Every day, the blogosphere is getting better and print media is getting worse”

A lot of people are making hay over Recode founder Kara Swisher’s remarks that Google is a “thuggish company” (the quote made notable by the fact that her wife is a Googler), but I found her defense of tech bloggers who operate outside the mainstream media to be equally fascinating:

Do you really think these media giants are threatened by you? 
People are worried about what’s goingto happen to journalism—and they should be. Every day, the blogosphere is getting better and print media is getting worse; you have to be an idiot not to see that. The fact that we’re still arguing it is comical. It’s like arguing gay marriage: I’ve had it. It’s done, you’re wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

What do you make of the argument that online tech journalism is too close to its subject?
As soon as you tell me what the ethical problem is, I will be happy to answer. But the “problem” seems to be that the journalist has some say in the business. That doesn’t mean that they’re selling ads or writing nice stories to be nicer to advertisers. That’s bullshit—nobody does that.

But some people do.
Of course. But the good people don’t. Why do we have to get pilloried for other people’s behavior? I’m not responsible for the people who cut corners. I wish that they didn’t, but it’s not what we do. The new meme is that tech journalists are too in bed with their sources. It’s the nature of journalism to need to be close to your subjects. And either you’re able to be tough on them, which a lot of us are, or you get in bed with them, and some people do. I just don’t think it’s new.

Is Reddit Gold an effective revenue driver for Reddit?

Recode’s Mike Isaac sat down with Reddit execs Jena Donlin and Ellen Pao to chat about the site’s attempt at monetization. For some time Reddit has been running an experiment with Reddit Gold, a way for users to subscribe to the site for some added features (users are able to gift Gold to other users, usually when someone has made an insightful comment that another user wants to reward). But is it making any meaningful impact on revenue?

I think Reddit Gold is really fascinating in terms of how people use it on the site, and how you’re creating value. I see strangers gift Gold to others anonymously all the time.

Donlin: It’s a lot about good will, as you said. People are really excited about Reddit. They use it a lot and understand that it’s a free service and they would love to see Reddit succeed so they contribute to express their love for Reddit. It’s great.

Pao: People like to reward people who have great comments. So in addition to rewarding Reddit, a person may have had this great experience that they shared, or wrote something really personal, or did something really positive. So another Redditor may want to reward that person, and the easiest way to do that is with Gold on Reddit.

Thus far, it’s been a largely symbolic gesture, as far as I can tell. What else does Gold do?

Donlin: You also get Gold benefits which are special deals corporations offer only to Gold users and some of them are really great. So UPS, Beta Brand, Uber, Lyft, for instance.

Pao: A big thing for us here is that it has to be brands where there’s strong customer service. We want everyone to have the same experience as if we were running the service.

I wonder about how reliable Gold is as a revenue stream, especially if it rests largely on good will.

Donlin: Yeah. It’s a subscription service, so the goal is to find really loyal users who are willing to renew. And if we can’t make it exciting for them to have this good will to renew every month, then we’ve got to keep working on it.