Popular third-party Reddit apps shut down

Several popular third-party Reddit apps — including Apollo, BaconReader, and Sync for Reddit — have shut down due to being unable to afford the platform’s new API fees, Engadget reports.

The biggest among them is nine-year-old Apollo — an iOS app which recently featured prominently during Apple’s WWDC 2023 keynote event.

Apollo creator and frequent Reddit user Christian Selig has been one of the most vocal opponents of the API fees.

In the past few weeks, he repeatedly warned that the app was doomed if Reddit stuck with the API fees it planned to charge.

Selig confirmed Apollo’s shutdown a day before the new fees kicked in on 1 July 2023.

While some asked why he didn’t push up Apollo’s subscription fees to make up for Reddit’s new API pricing, Selig pointed out that many Apollo subscribers had annual subscriptions for which pricing could not be revised.

He thanked the Reddit community and said he was heartbroken at how the API fee introduction unfolded.

“I truly drank the Kool-Aid talking to Reddit at the beginning that this was something they were going into in good faith with the interest of developers, moderators, and the community as a whole, but as many people pointed out to me, it’s clear now that ultimately wasn’t their intent,” Selig said.

He linked to a lengthy Reddit post in which he explained in detail how he attempted to negotiate with Reddit for more amicable terms.

He had requested a direct interaction with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, but was turned down. The alternative contact given by Huffman never responded to Selig.

Reddit protest continuing — despite threats to remove moderators

Reddit’s API fee announcement sparked outrage from large parts of its community, who switched thousands of subreddits from public to private out of protest in mid-June 2023.

A Twitch channel that tracks how many subreddits are participating in the protest showed 2,210 were still dark by Monday morning, compared to 3,100 on Wednesday, 21 June 2023.

The 2,210 represent about a quarter of the 8,829 subreddits that had originally switched to private for the initial protest action in early June 2023.

Despite the significant backlash, Reddit has remained adamant that it cannot afford to spend millions on the infrastructure to support API requests from third-party developers.

Reddit has threatened to remove moderators of subreddits that have gone dark, claiming they are breaking the terms of service by keeping users from accessing their communities.

To circumvent Reddit’s argument, numerous subreddits switched to “not safe for work” adult-only communities, keeping Reddit from monetising them with ads.

While many Reddit users have acknowledged the need for API fees, they have questioned Reddit’s cost calculations and its short notice to developers about the API fees.

The company announced the fees at the start of June 2023 and implemented them a month later.

Reddit is charging developers $0.24 per 1,000 API calls, which works out to $12,000 per 50 million.

Selig said that charging half the API fee and giving developers three months to transition to the new pricing would have been feasible.

Even at his recommended price of $0.12 per 1,000 API calls, Reddit’s pricing would be 36× as expensive as Imgur, which has similar content rating and discussion features to Reddit, although it is primarily image-based.

While Twitter charges a whopping $42,000 per 50 million tweets, its pricing has been publicly ridiculed.

Its cost per million API requests worked out to be 1,000× more expensive than AWS Lambda.


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Popular third-party Reddit apps shut down