Reddit Tests A Feature That Would Allow Users To Earn Real Money From Tips

Reddit new tipping featurePhoto By: Eva Blue/Flickr

A new feature which would allow users to tip Reddit content posters with real-world money is underway, as the new feature is being explored and tested by the leading social media platform.

The new feature allows Redditors to tip others similarly as Twitch and Youtube do it in their platforms.

This program is different from Reddit’s other reward system “Karma” which doesn’t have monetary value. No details have been released on how long will the testing take or when (or if it will ever be) launched for all users to enjoy.

As of now, the feature is only available to one user and followers the test account, “r/shittymorph.”

A Reddit spokesperson confirmed the test of the tipping feature, saying “We are always running experiments to test potential features that support and empower our users, and the tipping feature in r/shittymorph is one of them.” However, the spokesperson also explained that “Only a small percent of experiments get implemented.”

This statement suggests that the feature is not yet finalized and there is no guarantee for it to be implemented beyond “shittymorph’s” account. The decision to roll out the feature more widely is highly contingent on the reception of users to the test and with what kinds of problems that would arise from the function – may it be administrative on the side of Reddit or social on the side of its users.

According to Reddit’s spokesperson using the name “r/internetmallcop,” there are different denominations that Stripe can process with regards to the tipping feature.

“Anyone subscribed to the subreddit can click on the “tip” button that appears on all of r/shittymorph’s posts. After choosing to do so, users will see incremental tips of $3, $5 or $10. They can also set a custom tip up to $100. Below this, a box appears allowing users to enter their credit card information. The transaction is then processed by Stripe.”

The ‘tips’ will appear at the top part of the post that got the tip. However, internetmallcop explained that users would not be able to get 100% of their tips. Reddit would take 18.5% of the tips as administrative processing fees, and Strip would charge $3 per transaction. For every $100 of the tip, the user can only take home $75.50.

There are many concerns that are raised regarding the new tipping system. For one, Reddit’s existing rewards program that incentivized top content posters with Karma and bragging rights, many issues have already come out especially that there are cases where users do everything to get their Karma high and maintain their status in the community.

For example, prominent Reddit user u/GallowBoob – whose real name is Robert Allam – is regularly criticized over the tactics he uses to boost his Karma score, which includes re-posting popular posts from other users into other, larger subreddits and re-purposing other people’s content into different formats to suck up more upvotes.

While this is not a huge concern in Reddit right now since Karma has no real monetary value, everything will change once money is involved.

“With the added incentive of actual payment, Redditors would no doubt take larger issue with having their content re-published, and seeing other users profit from the same. Reddit could avoid much of the blame here by putting the onus onto users – it’ll be the users themselves that choose who to tip and who not to, not them, so the audience would decide whether the reward re-posters or not, ” said Andrew Hutchinson, a social media expert.

A Reddit user has even raised the concern that this new system can be a source of many of Reddit’s legal problems. This is maybe related to Hutchinson’s suggestion that concerns of plagiarism will be heightened since now monetary compensation can be given even to stolen content.

Another Reddit users have also noted that the new system will only empower Reddit’s subporn communities. Redditor r/jblah wrote:

“That’s a great way to legitimize a lot of the user-created pornsubs. I wonder if Reddit really wants to encourage that growth? On the one hand, it would probably be a solid boost in revenue, but on the other hand from a PR/family-friendly focused website, it would not look ideal.” /apr

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