The best Reddit client app is in danger due to price demands

Posted:
in General Discussion
Early in 2023, Reddit announced that it would begin charging for access to its API, and that price may kill off Apollo, the best client app out there.

Apollo for Reddit
Apollo for Reddit

Christian Selig, a former Apple employee, built Apollo years ago and it has become one of the most popular third-party Reddit apps on the market. Reddit's pricing for access to its APIs may box the developer out entirely, which may mean the end of the popular client.

According to Christian, he spoke with Reddit several different times regarding the price, and ultimately determined that Apollo would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year to keep functioning as it is today. He breaks things down further, saying Apollo made 7 billion requests during the course of April, and that would break down to around $1.7 million per month.

Christian notes when Reddit announced the pricing for API access, it said the price would be "reasonable and based in reality," and that Reddit would "not operate like Twitter." The developer pointed out that another site, Imgur, costs just $166 for the same 50 million API calls.

He goes even further, saying:
"As for the pricing, despite claims that it would be based in reality, it seems anything but. Less than 2 years ago they said they crossed $100M in quarterly revenue for the first time ever, if we assume despite the economic downturn that they've managed to do that every single quarter now, and for your best quarter, you've doubled it to $200M.

Let's also be generous and go far, far above industry estimates and say you made another $50M in Reddit Premium subscriptions. That's $550M in revenue per year, let's say an even $600M. In 2019, they said they hit 430 million monthly active users, and to also be generous, let's say they haven't added a single active user since then (if we do revenue-per-user calculations, the more users, the less revenue each user would contribute).

So at generous estimates of $600M and 430M monthly active users, that's $1.40 per user per year, or $0.12 monthly."

Unfortunately, Christian says that while Reddit has been "civil" during their discussions, there does not appear to be any flexibility in the pricing. Which means price demands may cause Apollo to shut down completely.

As it stands right now, Christian says the situation "requires some thinking," and says he doesn't see how this pricing scheme is based anywhere in reality or "remotely reasonable."

Twitter has followed a similar route in 2023. In January the social network cut off all access to its APIs from third-party apps, effectively killing them off. And following several delays, Twitter has its own ridiculously high paid access to APIs, which is set at $42,000 per month.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,431member
    Young folks. 

    Large companies are leaches.   The sooner you put your effort into something like the Fediverse the more you be free.  
    Alex1NmattinozdavWeirdMethod
  • Reply 2 of 5
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,213member
    At one level it is just about killing off separate apps where Reddit can’t effectively monetise the users.

    But there might be another consideration: the inter tubes cost money. My work is realising this. We host large databases and do a lot of modelling  that are free to use and researchers often download huge chunks. About 6 years ago we shifted a lot of these databases and services to Amazon rather than to try to keep hosting it all ourselves and have to keep spending scarce money building up to date HPCs and servers.  It is turning out the Amazon fees for data transfers are getting quite horrendous, and we are looking at switching back to in house HPCs.

    so it might be Reddit is just trying to rein in costs. 50 million calls represents a huge cost.
    edited May 2023 Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    "According to Christian, he spoke with Reddit several different times regarding the price, and ultimately determined that Apollo would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year to keep functioning as it is today. He breaks things down further, saying Apollo made 7 billion requests during the course of April, and that would break down to around $1.7 million per month.

    Christian notes when Reddit announced the pricing for API access, it said the price would be "reasonable and based in reality," and that Reddit would "not operate like Twitter." The developer pointed out that another site, Imgur, costs just $166 for the same 50 million API calls."

    7 billion / 50 million * 166 (Imgur) = $23,240 for the 7 billion requests in April, Versus $1.7 Million

    Yeah, I can see his point!
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,052member
    Just downloaded the program from the App Store, wish I had known about it before, so is the need cheap back of house infrastructure to keep going? Also, Reddit it’s ok but it is filled with crap like Twitter and not very interesting these days.
    edited May 2023 WeirdMethod
  • Reply 5 of 5
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,378moderator
    danox said:
    Just downloaded the program from the App Store, wish I had known about it before, so is the need cheap back of house infrastructure to keep going? Also, Reddit it’s ok but it is filled with crap like Twitter and not very interesting these days.
    I find the easiest way is using an RSS reader app ( like https://netnewswire.com ). The following feed pulls in the top articles across the whole site every day:

    https://www.reddit.com/top.rss?t=day&limit=1000

    It can be done for individual channels:

    https://www.howtogeek.com/320264/how-to-get-an-rss-feed-for-any-subreddit/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/rss/comments/br0xrg/reddit_top_rss_generate_rss_feeds_for_specified/

    It filters out most of the junk posts, you don't have to keep scrolling forever and it marks posts as read so it avoids reading the same posts multiple times in different sessions.
    watto_cobra
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