As the self-proclaimed "front page of the internet," Reddit has a huge influence over what's big online. With millions of daily readers, getting your blog, site, or brand on the Reddit homepage increases awareness and drives traffic to the source. It shouldn't come as a huge surprise, then, that corporate America is taking full advantage of this relatively new, completely free form of advertising. As BetaBeat's Ryan Holiday reports, Reddit has become an "irresistible target for feel-good messages about brands and businesses," but are these messages as organic as they seem? Or is big business actively targeting Redditors?
It's difficult to prove that a company is directly posting links to Reddit — although some have been caught in the act before — but Holiday points out that even an organically shared link could be boosted by a company paying for upvotes. The article names Costco, McDonalds, Volvo, and Walmart as potential rule-breakers, but there's no firm evidence that any of the companies have posted self-promoting links or bought upvotes. With corporations turning to increasingly bizarre ways to advertise their product, though, Holiday's theories don't seem so wild.
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