The popular online forum site, Reddit, has been ruling the charts for years. With diverse communities and engaging discussions, it has become a go-to platform for many individuals. But, as they say, one choice can either lift you or drag you down- it seems like Reddit’s experiencing the latter! Earlier this month, the platform decided to increase its API pricing, resulting in the closure of one of its popular third-party apps, Apollo.
Though there are many reasons why people love Reddit. But one of them is mainly the third-party apps letting indie creators experiment with their ideas. But with the new changes, we can’t say the same now!
And that’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this blog. So, keep reading as this they said-who said battle is about to get interesting!
Though the Reddit application is popular and favored by Android users mainly. Apollo is Reddit for iOS users. Created by one of the former Apple employees, Christian Selig, in 2017, it has a sleek design, customization options, and powerful features like a media viewer and fast loading times.
And the best part about the app is that it keeps getting updated and improved by its developer. Further, by valuing users’ experience and feedback, they keep making changes to the platform and try to make it the best Reddit experience for people on all iOS devices.
However, with Reddit’s new changes, we will not be getting the same experience as we used to on Apollo.
For a while, it had appeared everything was fine between both Apollo and Reddit, but here’s what happened over the weekend;
Reddit recently announced changes to its API pricing to prevent companies from using the platform as free data for training AI systems. The intention was to protect the integrity of Reddit’s online forum site.
As a result of Reddit’s new API pricing plans, Apollo, a popular third-party Reddit app, would have to pay a staggering $20 million annually to continue operating. This cost is simply unsustainable for an indie developer like Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo.
Christian Selig engaged in discussions with Reddit about the pricing changes. However, during these conversations, Selig realized that running Apollo under the new pricing structure would be impossible for his business. This led to the decision to shut down Apollo on June 30, 2023.
The news of Apollo’s shutdown due to Reddit’s API pricing changes has sparked a strong community backlash and protests. And other app makers in the Reddit ecosystem have expressed similar concerns about the impact of the new pricing structure on their businesses.
So, as a form of protest, several top Reddit communities have decided to go dark. Though it’s not confirmed whether the dark out will be temporary or permanent. But many users have decided to disappear from the platform forever. And it’s worth noting that these accounts have millions of members.
Further, if we talk about numbers, at least 2,740 subreddits have decided to participate in the protest. And all have one cause, i.e., a decrease in API’s pricing and renewal of Apollo.
And from such backlash and protest, we can understand the importance of third-party apps and their role in making Reddit popular. Also, without these apps, the platform might face major changes.
So, we’re all aware of the fact that Apollo’s closure is a direct result of Reddit’s pricing changes. But it wasn’t easy for Christian Selig to shut down the app.
Further, in between the discussion, Reddit accused Apollo of operating inefficiently. In response, Selig clarified the usage of API by Apollo. Also, he emphasized that the app did not engage in scraping, as Reddit had claimed.
To prove this, Selig even open-sourced the server code. Despite his efforts to address Reddit’s concerns, the outcome remained the same, with Apollo having to shut down.
Another significant point is that Apollo did not qualify for the exception for accessibility apps. And despite all efforts and support, Apollo couldn’t meet Reddit’s criteria. Plus, it’s ironic how Apple’s WWDC hinted at Apollo’s promising future not long ago.
To sum up, this whole debate has highlighted the challenges indie developers face in the industry. And it further raises questions about the transparency and communication between Reddit and third-party app developers.
The impact of Reddit’s pricing changes has affected other third-party apps as well. Thus, ReddPlanet and RIF (Reddit is Fun) have also announced their shutdowns due to the new pricing structure. Per these apps, if Apollo can’t afford the new price, they can’t either and prefer permanent shutdown instead.
But there is a glimmer of hope for Infinity for Reddit. They have released a paid version of their app in an attempt to generate revenue and sustain their operations despite the increased costs imposed by Reddit’s API pricing changes.
As for Christian Selig, he has plans for the future. He suggests that users support his new Pixel Pals app during the transition period. Pixel Pals emerged from a feature in Apollo that placed cute little pets on the iPhone’s Dynamic Island.
Further, Selig has expressed his disappointment in Reddit’s actions and how they handled the situation. He’s no longer interested in working with Reddit and doesn’t want to be part of their employing tactics.
Though Reddit’s popularity speaks for itself. But with the new prices and Apollo’s shutdown, let’s see if the platform can still hold its top position on the charts. And that was all in this news flash for now.
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