The deal propels Conde Nast's digital profile forward, particularly because the Reddit approach differs so drastically from the destination sites such as Style.com and magazine companions such as VanityFair.com that Conde has emphasized so far.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but traditional media companies have not been shy about spending a lot for their recent new-media acquisitions, nor does Conde Nast generally have a reputation for pinching pennies. Reddit, much like Digg.com, allows users to determine which stories and links should be given the most prominence on a lead web page.
Immediate plans call for relocating the four-young-man Reddit team from Boston to San Francisco, where Wired magazine and Wired Digital are based. But instead of being absorbed into Wired Digital or CondeNet, the parent of Wired Digital, Reddit will operate as a unit of its own.
"The founders will continue to work to build Reddit as a business," said Sarah Chubb, president, CondeNet. "One of the components of their business going forward is to license the technology to other companies that feel it would be useful to their sites and their traffic.
"We are," she added, "absolutely interested in using the Reddit technology on our other properties."
CondeNet has actually already done so in Lipstick.com, a celebrity gossip aggregator built in partnership with Reddit. That experience served both as a test of the system's ease and applications for Conde and as a way for the parties to get to know each other.
Bonding over video games
"They were a little skeptical of us at first but we engaged them with Lipstick," said Kourosh Karimkhany, general manager, Wired Digital. "I visited them several times. We got to know each other better over video games in their one-bedroom apartment."
Internal figures say Reddit attracts some 1 million unique visitors each month, but traffic has been doubling every two or three months, Mr. Karimkhany said.
In a neat example of the way its technology works, Reddit.com's top headline today came from Techcrunch.com and interested enough Reddit users voted to get it all the way to No. 1: "Breaking: Reddit acquired by Conde Nast." Techcrunch had news of the Reddit deal before Conde made its official announcement; it also has reported that companies including News Corp. are looking at similar properties such as Digg.