In April, Reddit announced significant updates to its API policy, and although they did not initially provide details about the implications for third-party Reddit clients, it appears that the situation is about to worsen. Similar to Twitter‘s controversial move, Reddit has decided to make its API paid. And needless to say, the community is far from pleased.
There are numerous incredible third-party Reddit clients that are absolutely adored. Infinity, Joey for Reddit, Stealth, Reddit is Fun, Sync, Boost for Reddit, Apollo, Relay, are just to name a few. These clients have garnered a loyal following, with many users even purchasing lifetime licenses.
I personally use Infinity which is an open-source Reddit client and has tons of customization options like other third-party Reddit clients, on top of that it has privacy benefits that come with every open-source project.
The debate about Reddit charging for their API has been ongoing for a while, but it reached a whole new level of intensity at the end of May. The developer of Apollo for Reddit, a popular third-party client for iOS users, revealed some shocking details from his discussions with Reddit regarding the API changes. He claims that they are demanding a whopping $20 million per year from him if he wants to keep his API access and continue operating at the same scale.
To break it down further, they are planning to charge $12,000 for every 50 million API calls. Given that Apollo made a staggering 7 billion requests in just a month, the developer calculated the figure to be around $1.7 million per month and $20 million per year to sustain the app. And that’s just for one third-party client. With so many other Reddit clients out there, you can imagine the outrage brewing within the community.
So why are Redditors so furious? Well, let’s take a moment to understand why many Redditors loathe the official Reddit app in the first place. First off, customization options are practically non-existent. Everyone loves to personalize their experience, and the official app simply falls short in this regard. Moreover, the app tends to be cluttered and slow, which is far from ideal when you’re trying to browse and engage in lively discussions.
And let’s not forget about the ads and trackers baked into the official app. Privacy and security are major concerns for users, and the thought of compromising on these fronts is not sitting well with anyone. Lastly, the official app just isn’t as fun. Third-party clients have brought a unique flair and enhanced features that the users have grown to love.
The anger among Redditors is further fueled by the memory of what happened when Twitter implemented a similar paid API policy. Third-party Twitter clients dropped like flies, with only ‘Fritter,’ an open-source web scraper, managing to survive.
The outpouring of support on the Apollo developer’s post clearly indicates that the majority of users are against this change. They are unwilling to switch to the official app and some are even contemplating quitting Reddit altogether if the new policy takes effect and their favorite third-party client dies.
But what’s the reason behind Reddit’s decision to charge for their API? According to rumors, Reddit is planning to go public in the second half of 2023, and to achieve maximum valuation, they want to consolidate their user base on their official app and site. The number of users directly affects a social platform’s evaluation, so Reddit is eager to gather as many users as possible before its initial public offering. It’s also worth noting that the paid API policy is expected to come into effect on July 1st, 2023.
It will be interesting to see if Reddit takes into account the backlash from the community and gives a second thought to its decision. We will keep you posted as this situation unfolds further. Till then, let us know your thoughts about this in the comments section below.