Many Reddit users are upset about Reddit’s plans to levy millions of dollars in API fees on third-party apps. On June 12, there will be a sizable protest and hundreds of subreddits intend to go quiet for 48 hours.
Reddit began as a geek-oriented website but as it has grown older it has made an effort to function more like a conventional social network. A first-party mobile app was created as part of that effort, but the 17-year-old website didn’t release its official app until 2016. Prior to it, third-party apps had to fill the void and even now the official app’s revenue-focused nature makes it generally inferior to third-party alternatives.
Third-party apps would not necessarily disappear if API prices were reasonable, but Reddit charged some of its biggest developers significantly more than other websites do. Apollo a well-known iOS app disclosed that it would have to pay $20 million annually.
Despite not having made a shutdown announcement, Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, said-
“I don’t have that kind of money or would even know how to charge it to a credit card.”
The same situation applies to other third-party apps. The API fees, according to Reddit Fun’s developer, will “likely kἰll” the application. Another third-party app, Narwhal, will be “dead in 30 days” when the new pricing takes effect on July 1.
The new pricing structure was announced by Selig, who said, “I don’t see how this pricing is anything based in reality or remotely reasonable.” Selig claimed that Imgur, an image-focused website similar to Reddit, charges $166 for 50 million API calls, whereas Reddit plans to charge $12,000 for 50 million queries.
The pricing should be reduced “by a factor of 15 to 20,” according to a post that is pinned to the top of the new /r/Save3rdPartyApps subreddit, in order to “put API calls in territory more closely comparable to other sites, like Imgur.”
According to developer /u/talklittle of Reddit is Fun (RIF), Reddit’s API conditions also call for “blocking ads in third-party apps, which make up the majority of RIF’s revenue.” Talklittle claims that the restrictions on pricing and advertising will “force a paid subscription model” on any apps that survive. The APIs for Reddit also block pornographic content, which is one of the site’s main draws.
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The community building and content moderation on Reddit, a firm that generates hundreds of millions of dollars annually, are all carried out by volunteer moderators. This results in entertaining civil wars where users and moderators can engage in combat with the website owners.
Over a thousand subreddits are currently included in the complete list of subreddits taking part in the June 12 shutdown. Many of the site’s most well-known subreddits, including r/gaming, r/music, and r/pics, which collectively have over 30 million subscribers, are taking part. Administrators of Reddit have not yet commented.
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