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What is Stack Overflow's business model?

I've never really been sure if Stack Exchange is a for-profit company, after all, there's no product or service that I've noticed here being sold for money, and I (quite gratefully) haven't seen any advertisements for third-party companies.

I would imagine, though, that Stack Exchange requires a good deal of funding to maintain. Is it externally supported, or does it somehow derive profit autonomously?


1 Answer 1


Things that currently derive profit:

  • Venture funding—well, not profit per se, but it's where a lot of the money comes from
  • Careers for employers is a paid service
  • Advertising on SOFU (the largest three sites)—note that if you have more than 200 rep, most advertising isn't displayed to you—they can afford this because most SE traffic is unregistered users just popping in once or twice from Google
  • Private Intranet SE sites

From when SE 2.0 was announced:

We believe that we can have a bigger positive impact on the world if we are self sustaining and not dependent on the kindness of strangers. We do not want to hard-code our revenue model too early. We believe that if our platform creates value for a large number of users, we will have opportunities to make money. Ideally those opportunities will not just make us self supporting, they will also make the site better. We are thrilled that we have patient investors who will support us and are prepared to allow a “native” revenue model to emerge organically as the site grows.

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    And not just banner ads, but sponsored links on certain tags, too.
    – hammar
    Sep 3, 2011 at 5:32
  • There's ads? I don't see any ads on Stack Overflow or any of the others sites I usually visit... Sep 3, 2011 at 5:36
  • @Peter Sidebar ads, above the Linked and Related sections. Will not be visible with Adblock enabled. (Although since they started getting venture funding, most of those ads have become SE network ads and not external ads)
    – waiwai933
    Sep 3, 2011 at 5:36
  • @Peter There aren't too many ads on SE 2.0 sites, but try browsing Stack Overflow in Incognito mode...
    – Jon
    Sep 3, 2011 at 5:38
  • Private intranet SE sites... Nice. Where can that be purchased? Nov 2, 2013 at 4:40
  • @JerryDodge You should contact the SE team directly for info, but... you should probably know that the private Intranet version (1) has much fewer features than the current SE sites (because they're based on the 1.0 platform), and (2) is generally available only to large corporations.
    – waiwai933
    Nov 3, 2013 at 1:26

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