The Way You Consume Reddit Might Be Dramatically Changing Soon
Reddit is one of the most popular social media sites out there, especially in the gaming community, but it seems that its management really wants you to use its official mobile app. Recently, the creator of the popular app Apollo revealed that Reddit is increasing the price of the backend access that these third-party alternatives need to survive, and it could wipe them out.
As noted in that thread, Apollo’s creator says that Reddit’s proposed cost of $12,000 per 50 million API requests would essentially kill the app overnight. These requests are how the app obtains information from Reddit, and are thus necessary to its function. The creator says that the app made 7 billion requests last month, which means that they would have to pay $1.7 million a month to Reddit to keep the app running, which is far less than what it makes. This essentially means that if these changes happen, these apps will have to dramatically increase their costs to customers or cease to exist altogether.
The developer of the popular Android app RIF backs up the Apollo dev, stating that its costs would be “in the same ballpark.” However, that developer also claims that Reddit may plan to remove sexually-explicit (“not safe for work”) content from these third-party apps while keeping access to that content in the official app. The developer then concludes that this is part of an effort by Reddit’s management to essentially kill these third-party apps.
Though we don’t know for sure if that’s the case, this appears to be a trend among larger social media sites at the moment. Earlier this year, Twitter announced wide-ranging price hikes on its own API calls, which caused many Twitter bots and tools to shut down as a result. Regardless of this, it’s clear that Reddit has an incentive to push users towards its official app, as these third-party apps usually have the ability to filter out many of the ads that Reddit derives revenue from. Reddit has pushed its desktop redesign for years in a similar fashion, with many users opting to use the old interface instead.
The price hike on these API calls has been described by tech pundits as an example of a process that writer Cory Doctorow calls “enshittification,” where large platforms are forced to make decisions that are unpopular with users in order to maximize short-term revenue. If these changes indeed happen, they will go into effect on July 1.
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