How Discord Constructed a $7 Billion Platform—With out Adverts

Business is doing well at Discord. The popular chat app called “Slack for Gamer” has seen a rapid increase in its user base in recent years. However, 2020 saw different growth, doubling Discord’s rating in less than six months. Due to the pandemic where many people stay indoors looking for virtual connection options, Discord has grown to 100 million active users per month.

Users join various chat rooms that Discord refers to as “servers” where they can speak on open channels or direct messages. These are based on various niche interests such as popular games, comics or TV shows. An invitation is required to join a Discord server. However, some are open and post their links publicly. There are Discord servers on a lot of topics: memes, anime, podcasts, Harry Potter, the NBA and of course, because this is the internet, lots of non-operational servers.

At the end of a landmark year supported by our new home living culture, the company, with 250 employees worldwide, is reportedly on the verge of securing a new round of funding valued at $ 7 billion. Just six months after its final round of funding, the price was $ 3.5 billion.

At the start of the pandemic, worldwide monthly downloads rose from 6.1 million in February to 13.5 million in March, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. The second surge came as the multiplayer game Among Us grew in popularity, with new monthly downloads increasing from 11.3 million in August to 22.7 million in September.

The continued popularity of Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox plays a major role in the growth of Discord, not to mention Among Us – which even played Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez live himself. All of this helped ensure that the app was included in the top 5 free apps on the Apple iOS App Store at the end of September.

Despite a troubled past confused with the more hideous forces in American politics, Discord has cleaned up its act, slashing consumer revenues, and expanding outside of its gaming origins. And while it is said that advertising is not in the future, we have seen other platforms turn around.

Take responsibility for a turbulent past

Discord was founded in 2015 as a place for players to connect. But its anonymity and privacy also attracted far-right political groups. Just a few years ago, Discord was known as the platform of choice for the alt-right and was used as the organizing platform for the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman marched as a white supremacist and neo-Nazi, Heather Heyer, was marched by a man murdered who drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.

In a recent interview with Adweek, Amy Spitalnick, executive director of Integrity First for America, a group that funds a lawsuit against the organizers of Unite the Right, said Discord was an integral part of their planning. “In many ways, social media has become the Klan cave of the 21st century,” said Spitalnick. “These extremists no longer meet in the forest with white hoods. Rather, they meet in Discord chats and other online forums. “

Since then, Discord executives have regretted their once fair approach to monitoring their platform. The company has booted hundreds of alt-right groups and accounts, and built a Trust & Safety team that comprises 15% of its workforce, according to Forbes.

It is noteworthy that, regardless of the pressure from advertisers, Discord has taken more responsibility. Compare that to Reddit: Reddit was once a haven for “free speech,” and only tightened its content rules after advertising became a sizable part of its business. The platform banned hate speech for the first time this summer when advertisers boycotted Facebook over its own anti-hate policy.

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