Reddit killing free third-party apps

Came across this today. It’s a real shame given how horrible browsing native Reddit has become. Looks like I’ll be leaving my last major social media platform as I’m certainly not going to pay monthly


Competition from 3rd party apps drives productivity, I like how telegram bought out a 3rd party app and brought it in house to run ‘competing’ teams, they also have 2 different web client teams.

I think the best way would to allow 3rd party clients free or very cheap access as long as they aren’t blocking Reddit ads and analytics.


Twitter’s set a precedent here, and I was going to share my thoughts in the twitter thread yesterday when someone posted about it, but I think it’s a smart and fair business approach, and it’s probably going to become more widespread.

I think it could be a good thing for all parties involved if done well. Users get a better experience, if they’re willing to pay for one. That in turn incentivises them to supported independent developers like the guy behind Apollo, which in turn supports the platform they integrate rather than leeching.

I can’t help but wonder if Twitter did this from the get go, the big app exodus never would have happened.

Ultimately of course it’ll depend on the sway of greed.

Good compromise.


The problem I see here is that Reddit does nothing to incentivise a better experience for the user. They’re saying the new paid API will provide the same experience, yet they’re also saying that they might introduce content restrictions for third party apps. In the meantime the native experience is so shit that I wouldn’t want to look at it with my eyes closed while blindfolded.

It’s all about milking that money cow now that they have/are/will IPO.

I wouldn’t mind looking at adverts if they weren’t so toxic (see FD thread or pretty much anything on television), so I have an ad blocker. But at the same time I don’t subscribe to the subscription everything model. I long for the simpler days of the internet.

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I always use myself, much more usable. Hopefully they won’t bin that off.


I’m surprised that’s still going, wow! Blast from the past that is. Kinda miss it.


I only use Apollo and old reddit.
I have an addon to force old reddit: Old Reddit Redirect – Get this Extension for 🦊 Firefox (en-GB)

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I tend to agree. People might hate Musk but equally he’s just doing what a lot of tech firms are thinking about doing. For the most part.

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And no surprises, it was none of those things.

It was an anticompetitive move designed to kill off third party competition in an effort to drive revenue, taking a leaf out of Musk’s book.

Looks like the new costs will be enforced from 1 July with third-party apps also cut off from NSFW content on 5 July (we know how that went for Tumblr). Curious to see how this will impact Reddit. I for one am ready to shelve it like I did with Twitter if I can’t use Apollo.


It’s not good, but let’s drop the hyperbole, shall we? It’s a fraction of the cost of Twitter. And Twitter actually shut off access for third party apps, a far cry from what Reddit are doing.

Apollo say it will cost them £2.50 per month, and I’d happily pay them double that per month for the better experience and no ads. Ultimately the dev could offset free users with ads if they wanted. The pricing here is in the ballpark of what companies typically expect users to pay for ad-free experiences.

Apollo has a lot of sway, and I think the Spotify tactic will actually serve them well here, in the same way it did for Taylor Swift with Apple. There’s a scenario here where both come out the other side looking like the good guys.

I still remain surprised that (older) social media companies were ever practically giving this access away in the first place. The fact that they’re still willing to, albeit at a vastly higher cost also still surprises me. You can argue it’s priced that way to drive out third parties, but if that was truly the goal, why not just shut access like Twitter did? Nothing stopping them from doing that, and the PR would be just as bad as it is over this.

But anticompetitive? No. It’s their platform. I’m personally tired of that spiel whenever a company does something people don’t like. It’s so overly used that the original definition loses all meaning.

This doesn’t kill Apollo either. It just means those who want free access to the platform will have to access it directly and endure a lesser experience with ads. But for me, I’d be perfectly happy to pay quite a bit more than the £2.50 per month Reddit are wanting from them, so although it could be a lot better, it’s still within these realms as far as I’m concerned:

£2.50 is only to cover the API cost for the average user. He said there are about 15% of users who would cost exponentially more to service. Then there’s a dev cost for breaking even, then of course you want some profit to live off.

Add on Apple’s 30% cut, and we’re talking £5-£10 per month to access an app that you can get elsewhere for free.

The dev has already implied that there is an uncertainty as to whether Apollo will continue beyond 1 July, and most other third-party devs have also confirmed that their app will die on 1 July if this change goes ahead.

There’s no hyperbole. This is a purely money-grabbing move from Reddit execs hoping to wring as much money out of the business as they can by forcing people to return to official Reddit clients/sites before they go public.

See above, it very likely will kill Apollo along with the vast majority of third-party apps.

Probably wrong choice of words there. While there’s nothing wrong with charging as much as you want for access, it seeks to restrict user choice (the users they depend on to generate content because Reddit generates no content on their own), worsen user experience all because someone envies Scrooge McDuck’s money pool.

And a good chunk will cost exponentially less. We’re dealing with an average here. You price it so your low use users are offsetting your heaviest hitters. It’s not a new problem to solve.

Show your working! Again, that sound like hyperbole to me.

£2.50 to Reddit for your average user.
£0.75 to Apple (it’s 15% for small developers and subscriptions after year 1).
£1.75 to developer (more than double what they get from the current Ultra subscription).

Based on the average, assuming that remains true among those who would continue to subscribe, that model would bring them more money than their current subscription does on a per user basis. Keeping things as they are, they could realistically charge us £3.99 per month and make the same the do with Apollo Ultra.

Uncertainty is not definitive, and reads more as a negotiation tactic to me. If they do shut down, that’s the developer’s choice. Based on their own math, there’s no reason they’d need to take that drastic of action. I’ll be asking Apple for a pro rata refund of my subscription come July 1st if they make that choice.

While I get where you’re coming from, I think if that were the goal ultimately, there’s little reason they wouldn’t just copy Twitter verbatim. I’m not as pessimistic in assuming their intent here.

I think they just want to plug the hole where users on third party apps aren’t seeing the ads or generating any revenue for Reddit (which is a pretty fair thing for a company to want to do IMO). They make no money on users who use Apollo.

I think they overvalue how much that’s worth though, unless they plan to become more aggressive on the monetisation side of things a la YouTube. Or they’re basing it more along the lines of what they charge in their own premium subscription (which kills the ads).

Reddit currently charge $6 per month for the ad free experience Apollo provides users for free, which gives us an idea as to the sort of revenue Reddit thinks those users are worth. They give you 700 coins too, roughly valued at $2.30, so we subtract that to arrive at about $3.70 (give or take) being the value Reddit attribute to a single user. $2.50 for the average user leaves money on the table for the third party developers, and is less than what they’d get from users paying for Reddit Premium.

Twitter’s pricing was publicly ridiculed for its obscene price of $42,000 for 50 million tweets. Reddit’s is still $12,000.

You could argue it’s a fraction, but it’s still a lot.


It may well be a negotiating tactic, but with almost all third-party devs warning that their apps will close, it may well be that the numbers just aren’t there.

There is nothing to justify the high cost other than forcing traffic onto their own site and app, especially given that they’ll also be introducing new restrictions.

They could charge a reasonable fee for API access, continue to limit certain functions and push ads via API.

So’s the volume of calls the cost covers!

Then why aren’t they just shutting off access like Twitter did?

I don’t know, optics? You’ll have to ask them! But when every app dev (+ the media) are saying that this is in effect killing third-party clients, then I’m likely to agree with them.


You’re the one making that assertion though, which is why I’m asking you.

What other app devs, out of interest?

You’ve only linked to a post authored by the Apollo developer, and that’s not exactly what they’ve said in that post either, and the media are just quoting Apollo’s post too. A lot of hypotheticals are being construed as the factual reality.

Apollo would not be able to exist under its current freemium model, yes. Same goes for other apps set up like it. But that’s not killing them. Apollo’s model can be adapted and changed to work with the new pricing. So it’s possible and realistic for the app (and others) to continue to exist and generate revenue of their own in addition to these fees. If they’d rather shut down than adapt their pricing model, that’s their choice. But it’s a choice all the same. And another developer will likely crop up and sell a service to replace it.

Open AI charge £90,000 for 50 million API calls for instance (assuming your average prompt length is 15 words and one punctuation). There are several apps happily existing in selling access to that platform via a subscription model. They’re charging about $20 per month for it granted (8 times more than than the cost of the API calls for Apollo to Reddit), but their costs are almost 8 times higher too, and there’s still going to be revenue left in there for them, else they wouldn’t be providing the service.

So the concept is already proven here. It just requires a change in pricing model to compensate for Reddit’s change. Which they were always going to have to do even in the event of the pricing being in their expectations of reasonable and based and reality.

There’s Reddit is Fun: Reddit - Dive into anything

And I’m sure I’ve seen others. Sync’s dev is waiting for a call but I don’t expect them to get a different answer to all the others.

OpenAI are doing something completely different to Reddit though, they’re actually selling a product that is both novel and currently expensive to develop and maintain.

Sure, Reddit have servers to maintain but the cost of an API pull can’t be what they claim it is, and there isn’t any actual product to sell to customers.

I hated the move to subscription based software before, and if this is the way things go I’ll just use the internet less and less and slowly become a self-imposed digital pariah.

I long for the days of boxed software where I paid once for something that met my needs and could use it as long as I wanted to. Sure if I needed a new feature I would have to buy it again, but generally I am not needy and find that most changes to software I buy/subscribe to tend to be for the worse for me anyway.

ETA: the RIF dev outright said they don’t think a subscription model would be viable at all. It’s not me making things up just to contradict you, it’s literally what the people whose bread and butter this is are saying.

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Especially in the age of LLMs hoovering up data for free I understand API costs for that purpose but I would hope for some common sense ( from my point of view) and allowing 3rd party apps, at a discount at least?

Does Apollo strip out Reddit ads?

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I hate to break it to you, but I’m afraid the service model is here to stay, unfortunately.

I tend to agree with you to a degree though. I draw the distinction between subscribing to an app, like photoshop, and subscribing to something that’s providing an actual service with ongoing costs, like Apollo or the Parcel app.

Over time I’ve grown to be more comfortable with some subscriptions with some apps too as well. But it depends.

In this context that we’re discussing though, I’m perfectly okay with it. It’s why I already pay for Ultra.

Have you got a link to that comment? I’d like to look at the thread to see if there’s any more context, specifically as to their reasoning why it’s not viable. I know some old Reddit app devs who went the abandonware approach for passive income where it wouldn’t be feasible, as it involves more hands on development and support for users. (Edit: read that wrong! You meant the Reddit is fun dev who I infer is saying they don’t think enough folks would pay, which is why it’s not viable.)

But I’m an app developer too, and based on the information provided I’d certainly be happy to build a $10 monthly subscription service in an Apollo vacuum based on the information known right now.

The problem is the actual information from Reddit isn’t publicly available (yet?). So we only really have what Apollo is telling us to go off, which is just hearsay at the moment (though I’ve no reason not to believe the bits we are being told, I don’t believe we’ve been given the full picture, so I’m using how API charges work elsewhere to fill in the gaps). If it’s not viable it’s either because of something Apollo aren’t telling us, or because, again, it’s being said as a tactic to persuade Reddit to reconsider and change the pricing. They know their users will be angry with Reddit if Apollo ceases to exist. They’re weaponising that against Reddit.

Yes. It’s (largely) why I use it.