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Several Reddit apps shutting down due to new API prices

Several third-party Reddit apps are shutting down at the end of this month, including Apollo, ReddPlanet, Sync, and rif is fun for Reddit (previously Reddit is Fun, aka RIF). This is a direct result of Reddit’s decision to charge developers and other companies for access to its APIs.

Announced in April, Reddit’s new API policy will be effective this month. The company plans to monetize the massive amount of human-to-human conversation data it has accumulated over the past 18 years. It says several big companies use its data to train their commercial AI models, so it would be fair to make them pay. Unfortunately, the new API pricing plans will end up costing a massive amount of money to the indie developers of third-party Reddit apps. It appears the cost will be too huge for them to sustainably run their projects, forcing them to shut down the apps.

Christian Selig, the developer of iOS-only Reddit app Apollo took to the platform on Thursday to share that the app is shutting down on June 30. According to him, the new API prices would cost him more than $20 million a year to operate the app. In a lengthy post, Selig said that “talks with Reddit have deteriorated to an ugly point” and that it’s no longer feasible for him to keep Apollo alive. “Reddit’s behavior has been so appalling that for any developer I’ve talked to, it’s completely erased the indication that they even want us around,” he added.

Other Reddit apps are also shutting down due to high costs

Developers of other Reddit apps have echoed Selig’s sentiment. RIF developer accused the company of “hostile treatment of developers,” adding that their operating cost would be “in the same ballpark” as Apollo’s with the new API pricing policy. “The app does not earn anywhere remotely near this number,” the developer said. They pointed fingers at Reddit’s decision to block ads in third-party apps, forcing them to rely solely on a paid subscription model. The platform also doesn’t allow sexually explicit material in third-party apps, while the official app still hosts such content.

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ReddPlanet and Sync developers are saying the same thing. “Reddit has made it clear that I’m not welcome here,” the ReddPlanet developer said. The company hasn’t responded to developers shutting down popular Reddit apps due to its high API prices. It has exempted accessibility-focused apps from this API policy, but others must pay to stay active. Thousands of subreddits have already come together to protest this decision. Subreddits like r/gaming, r/pics, r/music,  and many others will go dark for at least 48 hours starting on June 12.

Most of these subreddits have more than 30 million subscribers each. So this protest will severely impact Reddit. It remains to be seen if the company budges. More importantly, if it makes some changes to the proposed policy or announces relaxations. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman is hosting an AMA (ask me anything) session about “the latest API updates, including accessibility, mod bots, and third-party mod tools” later today. We may hear something from Huffman during this AMA.

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