It’s not quite Reddit, which now sees 1 billion pageviews per month, but Y Combinator‘s Hacker News just announced that it now serves up 1 million pages per day. Hacker News, which is a social news site that specializes in news stories related to technology startups, was founded by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham in February 2007 and has quickly become one of the go-to sites for anybody who is interested in the world of tech startups.
In total, Hacker News now sees about 90,000 unique visitors per day. Its users register about 25,000 votes on any given weekday. Hacker News’ growth has been slow but steady over the last few years. In December 2008, the site had about 20,000 unique users.
Today, Hacker News functions as a virtual water cooler for young startups to exchange news stories, tips and tricks and their own experiences. For publishers, it has also become a major source of traffic. A story that ranks high on Hacker News can easily drive more than 10,000 pageviews.
Digg, which is at its core a very similar site, suffers greatly from users and publishers who try to game the system in order to rise up in the ranks of active users or drive pageviews to their sites. Compared to Digg, Hacker News is an incredibly civil site. Comment threads can often be contentious but generally stay polite – maybe because the site isn’t driven so much by the votes and submissions of a small group of users who think that getting lots of upvotes is a worthwhile goal in and of itself.
The challenge for Hacker News will be to keep the quality of the comments and submissions at a high level as it grows. As the community grows and continues to drive traffic, chances are that it’ll become a bigger target for marketers and spammers. Hopefully, reaching 1 million pageviews per day won’t be the tipping point for this.