After setting aside the feature as a paid perk, Reddit will now let just about everybody reply with a GIF.
Starting today, any safe-for-work and non-quarantined subreddit can opt into enabling GIFs in the comments. The GIFs are pulled from Giphy's moderated collection so it's not a total free for all, but Giphy definitely offers plenty of animated if possibly-already-cringe options to choose from. Any new SFW subreddits will need to opt out of the feature if they'd like to keep it turned off.
“As this has proved to be such a popular feature, we are now making inline GIFs in comments available to all communities (with or without Powerups),” Reddit admin u/ChocotiniPlease wrote in a post on the change.
Reddit has also decided to crack open some of the other stuff it was previously hiding behind its pay gate, a change the company noted last week in r/modnews. GIF comments were previously available through Powerups, Reddit's version of Discord's server Boosts. Other Powerups included special flair options for paid subreddit supporters, custom emojis and support for 1080p video.
“We've come to the conclusion that a few Powerups features are popular and should be made widely available to our communities and users,” Reddit admin u/pl00h wrote in a post on phasing out the paid perks. “We’ve also come to the conclusion that bundling these features into a subscription product is not scalable or a good fit for most of our communities.”
Reddit will let most of the other Powerup perks live on even as it kills the paid community subscription component. One offering that isn't making the transition (for now) is 1080p video support.
The company observed that GIFs in comments and custom emojis both proved popular, but some of this enjoyable stuff felt stuck behind the requirement for a community to collect 25 Powerups to the tune of $4.99 each.
Social networks have made a massive shift toward paid features and premium tiers in the last few years, but it looks like Reddit still hasn't nailed what its version of that looks like. It's sort of surprising that the company's Discord-like, community-wide perks didn't take off quite like the company planned, but ultimately it's better to retool features and try out new ideas — or, inevitably, NFTs — rather than doubling down on something that isn't working.