Reddit API Pricing Changes Threaten Third-Party App Developers' Future

Lila Faulkner / Jun-02-2023
Reddit API Pricing Changes Threaten Third-Party App Developers' Future

In a move that has raised both eyebrows and concerns, Reddit's upcoming API pricing changes have put the future of third-party Reddit app developers in jeopardy. Developers of popular apps like Apollo, Narwhal, and Reddit is Fun have voiced their fears, stating that the new pricing might force them to shut down due to unsustainable costs and restrictions on revenue generation.

While Reddit has not officially announced the prices of its new plans, the developer of Apollo, Christian Selig, claims to have learned that the new pricing will cost $12,000 per 50 million requests. Given that Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, Selig fears that the cost could reach around $20 million a year, well beyond the app's earnings. Similarly, the developer of Narwhal has mentioned that this pricing would amount to $1-2 million a year, making it unaffordable for their business.

Additional developers, such as those for Relay for Reddit and Infinity for Reddit, have also expressed concerns about the future of their apps. Under the new API rules announced in April, third-party client developers will no longer be able to earn money from ads, nor can they display NSFW content within their apps. This means they will have to rely on subscription revenue from users, despite limited access to content.

Many have compared Reddit's decision to Twitter's API changes in January of this year, which effectively banned third-party apps like Tweetbot, Twitterrific, and Talon. Critics argue that Reddit's new approach is an attempt to monetize its data by charging developers who have built their businesses around it. Reddit, however, insists that it is not trying to shut down third-party clients, emphasizing its commitment to fostering a safe and responsible developer ecosystem.

Nonetheless, the Reddit user base has not responded kindly to the potential impact of these API pricing changes on their favorite third-party apps. Some have already begun looking into alternative platforms, reminiscent of the Twitter users who migrated to other networks after the ban. As the situation unfolds, developers and users alike will be keeping a close eye on Reddit's next moves and the fate of their beloved third-party apps.

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