Reddit is getting into the crowdfunding game, but don't expect the new service to rival services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Called Redditmade, the new site is mostly meant as a tool for subreddits (topic specific forums on Reddit) to create their own merchandise.
The new beta version of the site had about 15 campaigns at this writing. Most of them involved some form of Snoo, the lovable Reddit alien that serves as the site's official mascot.
At this writing, you could pick-up Santa-themed Snoo sticker packs for the subreddit /r/secretsanta or bumper stickers for /r/camping. And yes, Walking Dead fans, there are already zombified Snoo t-shirts and stickers for /r/thewalkingdead.
The impact on you at home: Like all things Reddit, Redditmade users may have to put up with the good and bad aspects of the new site. Fans of /r/GameofThrones or /r/camping can make some great stuff. But what happens if Reddit's darker side shows up, such as forums that celebrate violence against women or children? Reddit says it won't allow campaigns that sell offensive, abusive, or age-restricted products. Given Reddit's laissez-faire attitude towards subreddit topics, however, we'll have to see how strict the new site is about classifying items as offensive or abusive.
To help Reddit fans make subreddit-themed products, Reddit says it will connect users with "quality sourcing partners" to supply the goods. So far, however, the easiest thing to make on redditmade is a t-shirt. Anything else requires a little more legwork and discussions with the Redditmade team.
Any Redditmade campaigns that are meant for a specific subreddit have to be approved by one of the moderators of that subreddit to be official. Say, for example, a fan of /r/Windows wanted to create a Windows 10-themed mouse pad for the Windows subreddit. A moderator of that forum would first have to confirm that they wanted to be associated with the mouse pad campaign.
Gaining official status for a Redditmade campaign is important since only official subreddit merch gets tagged as a "featured campaigns." If there's free space available, Reddit will also throw in some complimentary ads for official Redditmade campaigns on their associated subreddits to drive eyeballs to the gear.
Reddit appears to be hoping that any proceeds from Redditmade campaigns will be donated to charity, offering an option to do just that. But there's nothing stopping someone from making themselves the recipient of all that crowd-funded cash.
Store front or crowdfunding?
Honestly, Redditmade seems more like an actual storefront than a place where redditors can get like minded folks to fund their crazy dreams. Campaign supporters, for example, don't have a choice of how much they'd like to contribute. Instead, they are charged on a per-item basis just like a store.
But in the tradition of crowdfunding each campaign sets a target goal and then redditmade gives them 30 days to hit that goal. Once the goal is reached, supporters of the campaign are charged for their purchases. Anyone who supports a campaign after the initial goal is reached, but before the campaign has ended, will be charged immediately.
If the goal is made, redditmade gets to work on creating the product while funneling any proceeds to the individual who created the campaign or a specific charity.