On Friday, Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao abruptly resigned after a tumultuous eight months at the helm. The site’s user base never took kindly, to say the least, to her sweeping changes that included deleting racist subreddits and the firing of a well-liked administrator.
Enter Steve Huffman. The 31-year-old co-founder was appointed by Reddit’s board to assume the position as its new CEO effective immediately. Needless to say, he has his work cut out for him, so let’s review:
Who is he?
Huffman is no stranger to Reddit. He, along with Alexis Ohanian, created Reddit in 2005 as a sprawling message board for people to talk about varied interests. He was once Reddit’s CEO, but left the website in 2009 to create Hipmunk, a travel search engine. Now he’s back as Reddit’s third CEO in a year.
What’s he going to do?
It’s his first Monday on the job, so he’s still hammering it out.
For starters, Huffman’s agenda includes rebuilding trust within the community following the revolt, revamping moderator’s tools to flag controversial content and deciphering what type of behavior is allowed on Reddit.
“We have a pretty large target on what’s acceptable,” Huffman told CNNMoney. “There are only a very small number of topics that we will absolutely censor.”
Subreddits, including those dedicated to fat-shaming and racism, were purged by Pao earlier this year and won’t be brought back. He did say during an Ask Me Anything session (AMA) that he will “reconsider” Reddit’s policies regarding free speech and won’t take as much of a hardlined approached like Pao did.
Does Reddit even have money?
Despite the site’s sterile appearance and few revenue streams (uh, there’s its premium membership tier Reddit Gold), Huffman says it has “lots of cash” and that monetization isn’t a “short-term concern of us.”
Reddit has languished under its parent company (and Condé Nast owner) Advance Publications since it was bought in 2011 and spun off a year later. The website raised a $50 million venture capital round last year, but with 160 million monthly visitors, Reddit has room to grow.
“There’s a very weak business model right now, which is inexcusable these days,” Huffman told Mashable. “Some of it is my fault: I didn’t give a shit about revenue. But having worked at Hipmunk, that’s all we care about.”
How did he do at Hipmunk?
Hipmunk is a success. It changed the ways flights are presented with its well-liked “agony index” that combines price, layovers and flight duration from best to worst instead of a cascade of random flights. Besides flights, Hipmunk quickly expanded its offerings to cars, hotels and packages and recently announced a partnership with Yelp.
It’s 2015, so will Reddit ever have a mobile site that works?
With its tiny fonts and small buttons, the skeleton of Reddit isn’t made for mobile. There are plenty of third-party apps that skim the most popular subreddits, yet Reddit still doesn’t have an official version.
“It hasn’t really changed in nearly 10 years,” Huffman told the New York Times. “It’s just this incredible platform, but there are a lot of technology issues holding it back.”
Reading between the lines, nothing is happening soon.
Lastly, is beloved exec Victoria Taylor coming back?
Nope. Huffman told Mashable she was axed for “specific reasons” and won’t be returning thus remaining as one of the Internet’s great mysteries.
More in Media
Adalytics Research asks, ‘Are YouTube advertisers inadvertently harvesting data from millions of children?’
Publishers’ Q2 earnings reveal digital advertising is still in a tight spot, but digital subscriptions are picking up steam.
Experts reflect how the failures of social media and online advertising can help the industry improve the next era of innovation.
Ad position: web_bfu