How it works:
I pay $8.99 for every comment I make as IMadeYouATeeShirt. $5.00 goes to DonorsChoose.org, via RedditDonate.com, in the name of reddit. $3.99 goes directly to reddit in the form of one month of reddit gold for the parent commenter.
Each comment will have a “footer”. The footer will link to this blog post, it will give the transaction ID of the RedditDonate.com donation, and it will link to the user who just received a month of reddit gold. The footer and this blog post all exist as part of an effort to maintain total transparency.
Why are you paying money?
Well, I’m linking back to a site (FunnyShirts.org) that actually sells t-shirts. I realize now a novelty account linking to a commercial website wouldn’t be genuine unless it was completely transparent. Plus, it should pay for its comments.
Why are you doing this?
A bunch of reasons:
- To engage the reddit community.
- To have fun. Reddit is still an awesome place to hang out, and contributing to reddit is a ton of fun. Now I’m combining two passions in my life!
- To take advantage of a pretty badass interactive design tool that we built into FunnyShirts.org. This design center lets me create designs super quickly, which enables this entire novelty account idea to come alive. Since I have the idea, and the ability to execute it, I want to give it a shot.
- To build links. This is the most important reason, in terms of how this whole thing could actually benefit FunnyShirts.org, and why paying $8.99 per comment might make sense. Building links could help our organic rankings, though I don’t really know how much weight Google actually gives to links in reddit comments.
- Because it’s never been done (as far as I know). Reddit seems like the type of place where you can try anything new, and beg for forgiveness later instead of asking for permission up front.
- You might think the real answer here is “to sell t-shirts”. Yes, in the long run, that’s part of the motivation. But the shirt designs I make will add to that specific discussion on reddit, which means they probably won’t make sense as sellable or wearable t-shirt designs. I say this just to clarify a point: I’m not trying to sell you the specific t-shirt designs in my comments. In fact, with each individual comment, I’m not trying to sell you anything.
Why don’t you just buy reddit ads?
We do that too! We’ve just begun with an ad on r/dolan that links to our dolan shirts.
A t-shirt novelty account sounds familiar…
Yes, in the spirit of transparency, I tried something like this once before. But I went about it all wrong. I lacked the transparency and the “sponsored” part of my novelty account. I’m trying to make up for those errors of long ago.
This idea is the pizza burn on the roof of reddit’s mouth. You are the opposite of Batman.
Yee-ouch. I understand there might be opinions like this. Please remember, the beauty of reddit lies in its total commitment to democracy. If people don’t like what I’m doing, then they’ll downvote me. If people like what I contribute, then they’ll upvote me. I’m hoping to be judged on the quality of the content that I bring to the conversation.
You might also be concerned that I’m starting a precedent, that soon reddit will be filled with business interests and self-proclaimed sponsored novelty accounts. At first, this sounds bad to me as well. But really think about it. Firstly, I think it will be immensely difficult to weave high quality content into a “sponsored” format. Secondly, don’t forget our right to vote. Only the good content will actually get seen. In the unlikely future where a bunch of these sponsored novelty accounts are actually posting good content while donating a lot of money to charities like DonorsChoose.org and doing it all with total transparency, well, that doesn’t sound so bad.
I’m starting a self-proclaimed sponsored novelty account, which means I’m paying $8.99 per comment because I’m linking to a commercial website. I really hope reddit enjoys it and I’m a little nervous about your imminent feedback.
Edited to add: Follow along! My reddit user account: http://www.reddit.com/user/IMadeYouATeeShirt/
See all the shirts so far: http://www.funnyshirts.org/tag/imadeyouateeshirt