Reddit's API Pricing Hike May Spell the End for Popular App Apollo

Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, one of the most popular third-party mobile apps for browsing Reddit, has announced that the app's future seems uncertain due to Reddit's recently announced API pricing changes. These changes have made it financially unviable for Selig to continue running the app, stirring up backlash from Apollo users who appreciate its unique features and iOS-friendly design.

Reddit's initial reassurance that the API pricing would not affect developers building apps to help users access the platform has proven to be incorrect. The company's intention was to monetize its data to prevent it from being used for free by companies training their AI systems. However, Selig has stated that the new API pricing terms will make it impossible for third-party Reddit apps like Apollo to survive.

According to Selig, the new API terms dictate that 50 million requests will now cost $12,000, an amount far exceeding his budget. Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would amount to $1.7 million per month or $20 million per year under the new terms. Making the app available only to subscribers is also not a feasible solution, as the average Apollo user utilizes 344 requests daily, costing around $2.50 per month. This cost is more than double the current subscription value.

The potential closure of Apollo has sparked outrage among its 1.3 to 1.5 million monthly active users and 900,000 daily active users. The app's success can be attributed to its iOS-friendly design, customizable features, and Selig's commitment to continuous updates. With a history of quick adaptation to iOS updates and a user interface resembling Apple's design style, Apollo has garnered around 5 million global installs to date. If the app is forced to shutter due to Reddit's API pricing, it marks a significant loss for the Reddit app community.

This situation mirrors Twitter's previous decision to increase its API pricing dramatically, leading to the decline of numerous third-party Twitter apps, clients, and services. Although Twitter has recently introduced a new, slightly more affordable $5,000-per-month API tier, it still poses challenges for smaller businesses to access it. Apollo's potential demise raises questions about the future of third-party app development and highlights the need for fair API pricing to foster innovation and diversity within the tech industry.