Starting this week, redditors will be able to tag their next photo-worthy meals at a Momofuku restaurant in New York City, say, or the coolest new exhibit at MoMa. The move suggests that Reddit–which was most recently valued at $500 million, though reportedly continues to operate in the red–is looking to broaden its use case and ultimately turn a profit.
The New York City location services app will power Reddit’s new tool, the companies explained in a blog post this week. “The Reddit team cares deeply about finding ways to enhance the creator experience on their platform, and Foursquare’s API is a natural addition, providing key location context when it’s needed,” said David Ban, Foursquare’s director of business development. The companies stressed that the tagging features is optional, and that neither party would store location data.
The ability for Reddit’s more than 230 million users to tag posts in a specific location–combined with the more standard profile pages that the company introduced earlier this year–could pave the way for businesses to launch their own profiles, analysts suggest. In this way, advertisers might be able to strike up conversations inconspicuously. The company also recently re-structured how the site works for mobile, and last year introduced its first-ever mobile app. Reddit did not immediately respond to Inc.‘s request for comment.
Ohanian has long been aware of the need to get into the black. “Costs at the end of the day are what make your company go out of business,” the entrepreneur said recently, on stage at Inc.‘s annual GrowCo conference in 2016. “Keeping lean as early and as often as possible is so important.”
Still, some fear that recent shifts may detract from what makes the site unique–namely, the ability for the community to regulate what appears on the site (some subreddits forbid self-promotional posts, for instance.) As one user, r/SageWaterDragon, has posted: “The majority of comments that I’m seeing here are negative–Reddit has something really special in the way that communities form and ideas spread, what you’re proposing is a fundamental shift in the way the site culture would work. Make sure to listen to the criticism being leveled against this, because if Reddit loses what makes it interesting people will absolutely leave.”