What started as a planned two-day event for popular Reddit communities to protest proposed changes that would put an end to popular Reddit apps has turned into an open-ended standoff between Reddit moderators and executives.
Hundreds of subreddits kept their private status beyond the end of the Reddit boycott and planned to keep it indefinitely. A leaked memo from Reddit CEO Steve Huffman confirmed that the platform intends to go ahead with its plans to restrict API access to paying customers.
Options discussed with Reddit app developers have left them no choice but to turn off tools that have benefited thousands of Reddit users for decades.
Reddit could reportedly go public this year at an estimated $15 billion, as Huffman stressed in comments from a recent AMA that the focus is on profitability.
Below are messages from the people behind some of the best Reddit apps, providing insights into why they’re being forced to shut down.
Monthly cost for Reddit API access: $2 million
According to a post by Christian Selig, creator of Apollo for Reddit for iOS, with over 170,000 reviews on the App Store, accessing the Reddit API would cost $2 million per month.
The advertised price was $0.24 for 1,000 API calls. I quickly entered this into my app and found that at $12,000 it wasn’t far from Twitter’s exceptionally high API prices and at my current usage it’s nearly $2 million per month or over $20 million dollars per year would cost. That’s no exaggeration, it’s just a matter of multiplying the 7 billion requests Apollo made last month by the price per request.
While Selig appreciates the support of subreddits boycotting the API changes, Apollo plans to shut down operations on June 30th.
Rumors of discussions between the popular app developer and Reddit led to one of Huffman’s most disliked comments on Reddit’s API changes.
API changes prevent app developers from earning ad revenue
App developers would not only pay to access the Reddit API, they would also lose the ability to generate advertising revenue within their apps.
A post from the Reddit is Fun (RIF) app about their imminent demise with over 445,000 reviews on the Play Store explains this.
As part of this, they block ads in third-party apps, which make up the bulk of RIF’s revenue. That’s why they want to impose a paid subscription model on RIF users. Meanwhile, Reddit’s official app still makes most of its money from advertising.
Huffman confirmed in the memo leaked by Verge that RIF and Apollo are popular apps that will be shut down.
While the two largest third-party apps, Apollo and RIF, and a few others have announced that they plan to shut down by the end of the month, we’re still in talks with a few others.
RIF also thanked Reddit users for their support during the Reddit boycott. Long-time users expressed their gratitude and sadness.
Have been using this app for 10 years. I can’t believe it’s ending. There wasn’t an official Reddit app back then (I thought that was the official one at first), but even when Reddit launched their app, I never thought about switching because this app is literally perfect.
Thank you to everyone involved in creating this wonderful app.
No more free Reddit apps
Apps like Relay for Reddit for Android with over 72,000 ratings on the Play Store can no longer offer users a free version.
TLDR – There is no way to continue the free version of Relay; A monthly subscription price of $3 (or less) might be achievable.
The future of Reddit remains unclear
Unlike other social networks, Reddit is known for its strong community. Reddit app developers have the support of their users and the moderators of thousands of subreddits.
How long will hundreds of popular Reddit communities remain private? And how will a prolonged Reddit boycott affect Reddit’s organic search traffic and ad revenue? We will monitor the data and keep you informed.
Featured image: Ira Lichi/Shutterstock