RedditGifts is an online user-to-user gift exchange service that connects Reddit users around the world with one another. Free to participate in, RedditGifts was first created by Reddit user "kickme444" (the alias of Dan McComas), while working on freelance projects. The service involves signing up, filling out a profile based on the user's preferences, and agreeing to send a gift to a randomly assigned user.
The service is a gift exchange designed for Reddit users. It matches a Reddit user with another Reddit user, and each user must then send a gift to the other user according to that user's tastes and preferences listed on their profile. Participation is free, although extra perks can be purchased with the optional "RedditGifts Elves" membership, and goods are usually priced between $10 and $25 USD. The service also requests that users leave "thank-you notes" for their gift-giver on the website.
Since starting as a Secret Santa exchange, RedditGifts has added a variety of different themed exchanges that run throughout the year, such as Nintendo and Halloween. The service also runs Arbitrary Day, "a celebration of nothing in particular". Up to 2011, approximately $1.5 million had been spent by Reddit users on the project.
Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates has participated in the service for five years under the username "thisisbillgates", most notably in 2013 and in 2014, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed this. Gates was noted to send objects to Reddit users like "Calid7" (a 25-year-old Californian woman), such as a travel book and a stuffed cow. He has also been known to donate to charities in the name of the user he has been matched with.
In August 2011, Reddit bought the RedditGifts site. The two site-runners reportedly could not afford to continue maintaining the site while simultaneously working their day jobs. Both site-runners continued to run the website, although they are not involved with the daily operations of Reddit. The company takes a 15 to 20 percent cut of every purchase. Reddit operates the website as part of its ongoing plans to monetise their website. As of December 2013, approximately 14 percent of Reddit's revenue came from running the service, although McComas said that those sales alone could "put Reddit firmly in the black", and that the company may choose to reinvest funds in e-commerce customer service and infrastructure.
In December 2013, while expressing his desire for the Reddit business to become self-sustaining, then-Chief Executive Yishan Wong stated that the RedditGifts service "provides real value", and called it "promising" for the business. Wong increased the staff count dedicated to the project to eight after realising the service's potential.
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