UPDATE 6/8: Apollo says it will shut down, effective June 30.
“Reddit’s recent decisions and actions have unfortunately made it impossible for Apollo to continue,” developer Christian Selig wrote on Reddit(Opens in a new window). “I’ve talked to a lot of people, and come to terms with this over the last weeks as talks with Reddit have deteriorated to an ugly point.”
Reddit, for example, apparently thought Selig was trying to blackmail the company when he asked whether Reddit would acquire third-party apps like Apollo. (“I said I’d even do it for…six months worth: $10 million, what a deal!) According to Selig, however, Reddit misinterpreted him when he said: “If you want Apollo to go quiet.” Reddit apparently heard him say “if you want Apollo to go quietly,” as in not making a fuss. But Selig says he meant that Apollo is currently “quite loud in terms of its API usage.” Reddit later apologized, Selig says.
It’s also not tenable for Apollo to raise its prices. “Even if I added 12,000 new subscribers at $5/month (an enormous feat given the short notice), after Apple’s fees that would just be enough to break even,” Selig says.
Then there’s the timeline. “Going from a free API for 8 years to suddenly incurring massive costs is not something I can feasibly make work with only 30 days,” he says. “That’s a lot of users to migrate, plans to create, things to test, and to get through app review, and it’s just not economically feasible. It’s much cheaper for me to simply shut down.”
Original Story 6/1:
Reddit’s plan to charge for extended API access may be the end of Apollo(Opens in a new window), a popular Reddit client, the app’s developer says.
In a Reddit thread, Christian Selig says Reddit’s expected pricing structure for API access would cost Apollo $1.7 million per month or $20 million per year, since Apollo made 7 billion requests in 2022. “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,” he says.
In April, Reddit joined the likes of Twitter in announcing(Opens in a new window) it would charge third-party developers for access to its API. That move is intended to stop tech companies from scraping Reddit’s data to train their AI language models while offering no benefit to the social media platform and its users.
Reddit’s pricing was disclosed in a call Selig had with Reddit, he says. “I’ll cut to the chase: 50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined.”
In his post, Selig also pointed to the affordability of Imgur, which he said only charges Apollo $166 a month for API access.
Selig tells PCMag that he had another phone call with Reddit after posting the thread, where the social media site did not indicate that it’s willing to be flexible on pricing, “even if just a little bit.”
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Selig adds that he spoke to “pretty much all the developers of other large third-party Reddit apps across iOS and Android” and “all of them seem to echo the same sentiments” he has on the pricing issue. Selig says app developers who depend on ad revenue to pay their API bills are in an even stickier situation as they rely on ad revenue to pay their bills, and “Reddit has disallowed that as a revenue mechanism for third-party apps.”
Reddit has said(Opens in a new window) it will enforce the new API charges on July 1, though Selig tells PCMag that the company is “willing to be flexible on the [payment] timeline.” Reddit did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.
In the comment section of Selig’s thread, redditors overwhelmingly criticized the pricing change, and responded with messages of support. One top upvoted comment reads(Opens in a new window): “Their pricing is outlandish. If they don’t compromise or another solution isn’t found, well I certainly won’t be an active Reddit user any longer as I use Apollo almost exclusively.” Another commented(Opens in a new window): “It’s been a good run folks.”
Twitter’s move earlier this year to charge enterprise users a minimum of $42,000 per month for access to its API has resulted in the demise of several apps. WordPress also ended(Opens in a new window) its JetPack sharing plugin with Twitter.
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