Reddit announced a contributor program on Monday, which awards users actual, real money for their fake internet points. Now, eligible users will be able to convert their Reddit gold and karma into fiat currency (no, not crypto), which is disbursed once per month.
So far, the Reddit contributor program is limited to users in the United States (to start, at least) who are over the age of 18 and can verify their identity via Persona and Stripe. Accounts must have existed for over 30 days, and only safe for work posts can be monetized.
This feature was leaked about two months ago in Android Authority, when a reverse engineer found data about the program in an APK teardown.
A user’s Reddit karma (or number of upvotes received) dictates how much money they can earn. To withdraw money, redditors need to earn at least 10 gold within a 30-day period — if they don’t reach the threshold, the balance rolls over. For users with between 100 and 4,999 karma, they will receive $0.90 per 1 gold. Once you earn more than 5,000 karma, you can earn $1 per gold.
Twitter (now called X) launched a similar creator monetization program recently, where some creators can earn ad revenue based on the impressions their posts generate. But there are concerns that programs like this can incentivize spammy posting, or “engagement bait.”
Reddit is also changing its system for awarding gold. Users previously could buy coins, which could then be used to buy gold or other awards, which can be given out to high-quality posts. But Reddit sunsetted the awards and coins system to make gold more straightforward. Now, you can long-press the upvote icon in the app, or hover over it on desktop, to buy gold — prices start at $1.99 for one gold, and go up to $49.00 for 25 gold. So, if top users earn $1.00 per gold, this means that Reddit retains around 50% of the payment. While these features will start rolling out on the app, they won’t be available on web until later this year.
These revamped payment programs arrive at a time when Reddit is in tumult, as parts of its user base still remain hostile due to controversial API changes, which make it unaffordable for many developers to build on Reddit. Popular third-party apps like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, ReddPlanet and Sync have shut down after these changes.
Update, 9/25/23, 1:55 PM ET with additional information about payments.