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Eat At Snoos AlienIn terms of active online communities, Reddit takes the cake. So, the announcement that the site is giving local businesses free advertising spots is a big deal.

The news sharing site, which gets over a billion page views per month, harbors an abundance of small subreddits — which are sub-sites within Reddit based on one unifying subject, like cities, states or colleges. The local subreddits have a much smaller following (2,000 to 9,000 subscribers) compared to mainstream subreddits like Offbeat, Funny and Gaming. However, the local communities can be just as active.

Yesterday, Reddit announced a campaign to give local businesses free advertising targeted at those localized subreddits. Each local business will get one of Reddit’s self-serve ads, which runs at the top of each subreddit page. Users can both vote and comment on the ad as if it were a regular submission to the site. That ad will run for three days, which is a value of about $100.

“We’ve seen a few local businesses use it, but we wanted a few more people to try it out to see what works, what doesn’t, the overall performance, how we can improve (the experience) or even just to create best practices,” Reddit General Manager Erik Martin said in an interview with VentureBeat. “Also, it’s in our best interest for local businesses to realize that there are local subreddits for almost every city and large town in the country.”

In addition to raising awareness, Martin said the company is running the new campaign to get more feedback on how local businesses can use its self-serve ad platform.

“Owning a local, private business is like having three jobs and a new baby all at the same time — especially when you’re first starting up,” Reddit wrote in a blog post announcing the campaign. “It’s easy for a local business in a specific community to get lost in the advertising crowd.”

This isn’t the first time Reddit has decided to give out free ads. Last month, the company held a campaign inviting non-profits and charities to run free ads on the site. About 250 ads (valued at over $27,000) ran during the two-week campaign.


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