There wasn't a ton of new stuff here for anyone who has been on reddit for any significant period of time but I did enjoy a few points.
1. The quotes they pulled from various news sources over the years from reddit workers as well as Conde Nast were interesting.
2. The succinct way they got to the heart of the issue regarding advertising...only to not elaborate on it at all.
kleinbl00 and I were discussing this over lunch the other day. Yes, facebook is going to give you more control over your audience than reddit. But reddit allows you to reach a pretty specific demographic... in a more organic way... and drill down to their specific interests. There is a way to make this work. Besides the problems with their general execution and disregard for the self-serve platform (redditors would be the biggest reddit advertisers and with success-stories, others would follow suit), reddit only spent the customer-service hours on outside "big" advertisers. But, regardless of all those issues, the biggest mothefucking problem is the fact you can end up out a bit of money while having your reputation destroyed.
On Facebook, you pay $XXX and, at the very worst, no one actually remembers your ad and your out $XXX and have the exact same reputation / recognition.
On reddit, there is the potential that after the $XXX, your reputation will be at -9000. Destroyed. Instead of "oh I recognize this, let me buy it", people go "oh man I saw that on reddit. It's terrible. I would never buy it." Now, your ad is actually costing you sales. I don't think a Facebook ad can do that.
A warning, try to ignore the 3 paragraph where it says:
There aren't any stupid, glaring mistakes after that.
Reddit has avatars. They're just so poorly integrated that they don't matter.
A few things worth noting about this article:
1) They note that Comscore and Reddit disagree about traffic, but then let it go and accept Reddit's numbers. This is a bigger deal than they make it- if ComScore says you've got 31m viewers and Reddit says you've got 164m, and you're using a 28m ComScore number for Wired, for example, then the online audience of Reddit is marginally bigger than the online audience of Wired, not five times as big.
2) When your CPM is according to Reddit's math and everyone else's CPM is according to ComScore's math, Reddit's ad rates are FIVE TIMES as expensive. I can tell you that an afternoon buy-out of /r/movies ("8m viewers") is $15k... but an afternoon buy-out of women 18-35 of greater Los Angeles on Facebook (which Facebook calculates at about 1.5m women) is $2k.
3) The lack of decent moderator tools, site transparency and questionable metrics combine to make Reddit stupid easy to game. Reddit isn't overrun by spam because most SEO won't bother with Reddit beyond a platform plugin or two. However, when TBWA decided that the Old Spice Man would dominate every goddamn social network there was, it cost them a $2k day rental at Smash Box, a sound guy, a DIT, two writers and an actor. Their total buy-in was probably $10-15k and they were at the top of the news cycle for three solid days. You can do that, or... buy one stinking banner ad in /r/movies for 24 hours. Same price.
In case you missed it, that's a company with a half billion dollar valuation and a factor-of-five dispute about metrics arguing that they don't need to be profitable. This is a company with $50m in VC funding that relies on donations to keep the servers running.
5) Alexis and Steve left October 31, 2009. Back then, /r/reddit.com had 200k subscribers. Even that's by Reddit's janky numbers... the actual community size was probably closer to 40k. In 2011, SomethingAwful had about 200k subscribers and SA is so fringe and sub rosa that the greater tech community has forgotten it exists. Alexis and Steve have literally zero experience with large communities. f'n /r/FFT is a backwater and it's got 150k subscribers (by Reddit's count). It gets maybe 3 modqueue items per day.
6) Those same ComScore reports that Reddit discredits also show that ~80% of Reddit's internet traffic comes from porn searches. There's a reason they gave violentacrez a trophy, rather than a leash- he was their rainmaker. Notice how one of the two advertisers they mentioned makes sex toys?
So it's not just that Reddit has been managed "hands off" - it's that there's a fundamental disconnect between what reddit is and what reddit presents itself as and you don't have to dig very deep, as an advertiser, to determine this.
That Bloomberg hasn't dug into this says a lot about the caliber of tech coverage right now.