If you followed tech news at all this year, you may recall a bit of drama between Twitter and 3rd-party apps. What does the conflict stem from? Money, of course. It appears now that reddit is looking to inflict the same pain upon itself, implementing a $12,500 per 50M API requests fee to 3rd-party developers, which essentially prices them out of business.
The developer behind the iOS-only app Apollo, a 3rd-party reddit alternative, came right out on reddit and stated, “Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.”
The only companies that can get away with operating in the red for an extended period are the ones who operate in additional sectors and print cash. We’re talking the Googles, Sonys, and Microsofts of the world. This method does not and cannot apply to smaller 3rd-party app developers.
So what happens now? Well, there has definitely been a good amount of user pushback from reddit users. Many are saying that they will stop using the service altogether if reddit goes ahead with these insane API prices. The same thing was said by Twitter users. It depends on what reddit values most — users or money. An IPO for reddit is reported to be coming up, so with the company looking to find as many avenues of income as possible, it’s hard to imagine they will do away with these changes. However, there must be a happy middle ground, where they lower the API price to an amount that 3rd-party developers can afford and still operate their own business.
This story is getting a lot of traction right now, so we’ll keep you posted if reddit makes a statement.