Reddit has blossomed into an online community that millions flock to in order to get away from their daily lives, have a laugh, or even just to catch up with the latest happenings in the world. Turns out, Reddit could have become a very different network — Google actually tried to buy it back in 2005.
So why did the deal never go through? According to cofounder Alexis Ohanian, who spoke in an interview with Business Insider, the deal never went through because neither he nor co-founder Steve Huffman wanted to become Googlers.
The year 2005 was a very different time for Reddit. At the time, both co-founders were only 22 years old and had just graduated from the University of Virginia. Google wanted to buy the network to use it to power the comments sections in other properties it owns, such as YouTube, which it bought a year later.
Ohanian declined to say how much Google offered to purchase Reddit, however, the company said he and Huffman were a part of the acquisition — in other words, they would go on to serve in positions at Google. At that point, Reddit raised $82,000 in funding and while for them at the time that was a lot of money, the offer was still tempting.
Eventually, Reddit was acquired by Condé Nast in 2006, however, in 2011 it began operating as a separate entity under Condé Nast’s parent company Advance Publications.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that YouTube’s comment section hasn’t been growing without the help of Reddit. Ohanian, however, says that the comments section on YouTube still has a long way to go, largely because it lacks context. Ohanian also said that Reddit is planning a design overhaul — while it has gained new apps along the way, the service has largely looked the same over the years.
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