Christian Selig, the developer of the popular iOS Reddit client Apollo, posted on the social network on Wednesday saying that the social network’s new API pricing might put him out of business. Selig is not alone in thinking like this. Since then, several third-party Reddit app developers have expressed their concern about their apps’ sustainability.
To be clear, Reddit hasn’t officially announced the prices of its new plans. But Selig says that in a call with the Reddit team, he learned that the new pricing will cost $12,000 per 50 million requests and Apollo made 7 billion requests last month. The developer of another iOS app Narwhal — who also had a call with the Reddit team — posted on the app’s subreddit that this pricing will cost them roughly $1-2 million a year and they can’t afford it.
On another post, Reddit is Fun’s developer chimed in and said that in comparison to the $20 million a year cost quoted by Selig, “RIF may differ but it would be in the same ballpark.” They also specified that the app doesn’t make that much money.
Makers of other clients such as Relay for Reddit and Infinity for Reddit also expressed concerns about their apps’ future. Under the new API rules, announced in April, developers of third-party clients won’t be able to earn money from ads and they won’t be able to show NSFW content on their apps. So they will have to hope that users will pay subscription money despite not getting access to some of the content.
On Twitter, people have equated Reddit’s move with the Elon Musk-owned platform’s own API changes and killing off third-party clients. In January, Twitter changed its rule to effectively ban third-party apps like Tweetbot, Twitterrific and Talon.
It appears that with these new API changes Reddit is looking to monetize its data by charging developers who earn from making apps around it. But Reddit maintains that it’s not out there to shut down third-party clients.
“This is absolutely not aimed at ‘killing’ any third-party apps. We have been in contact with third-party apps and developers, including Apollo, over the course of the last six weeks following our initial announcement about API changes, and our stance on third-party apps has not changed. We’re committed to fostering a safe and responsible developer ecosystem around Reddit — developers and third-party apps can make Reddit better and do so in a sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnership, while also keeping our users and data safe,” a Reddit spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement yesterday.
Users on Reddit are not happy with the company’s decision to price its API in a way that threatens third-party apps. Just like many Twitter users who shifted their profiles to alternative networks, some folks are already looking to join other Reddit-like platforms.