by Jason Snell
Reddit has it in for third-party clients
Every now and then I type something into Spotlight on the iPad and I see that Twitterrific is still installed. I can’t bear to uninstall it, but since Twitter killed third-party client apps, I don’t use Twitter very often. Maybe I check one of my lists once a day. That’s it. And I used Twitter a lot—with my third-party client of choice.
The geniuses who own Reddit have apparently decided to walk the same path as Twitter. Here’s the report from Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, a leading (and beloved) Reddit app:
Had a call with Reddit to discuss pricing. Bad news for third-party apps, their announced pricing is close to Twitter’s pricing, and Apollo would have to pay Reddit $20 million per year to keep running as-is.
Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.
Not only is the price ridiculous, but (as Selig shows with some back-of-the-envelope math) it’s far beyond what Reddit itself makes on its users. As with Twitter, there is a path for Reddit to walk that allows Selig to build a sustainable app business and for Reddit to be compensated for its service. But this isn’t it.
If Reddit continues on this path, it may discover that some of its most devoted users are devoted because they love Apollo. And if it vanishes, many of those users will too.