Running a Side Business as a Programmer: The story of Later for Reddit - Adam Bard and his magical blog

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2021-08-18 21:00:11

For the past 5 years, I’ve run a website called Later for Reddit. For the past 2 years, it’s actually been making money. Here’s how that happened.

I used to spend a lot of time on Reddit (insert Mitch Hedberg joke here). I also used to spend a lot of time writing side projects, often late into the night. One problem I frequently had at the intersection of those two hobbies was that, when I posted my sweet new thing to Reddit after I finished getting it ready at 2am, it never had a chance of getting seen.

See, Reddit’s ranking algorithm is designed to penalize age; if it wasn’t, the front page would be full of the same thing, day after day. As a consequence of this, posting something at 2am means that by the time anyone is up to see it, it’s too old to gain traction. And so, Later for Reddit was started with a simple goal: help me post the stuff I was up late working on at the right time in the morning.

I launched what was then RedditLater (later changed to “Later for Reddit” to comply with Reddit’s API terms) in 2013, as an entirely free project – just sign in with Reddit, and you can schedule up to one post per week. I put that limit on because it was immediately obvious that without a limit I would quickly be overrun by spammers. After a little bit, I started granting anyone that asked me one post per day, instead of one per week. (I actually put this on the front page – just contact me to get one post per day. Many people did, but I think many more didn’t read that far. Oh well.)

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