Reddit is facing a backlash from its users and developers over its new API pricing scheme that could effectively shut down many third-party apps that offer a better browsing experience than the official app. Ars Technica reports many subreddits will go a dark for 48 hours as users and mods rally to protect the changes.
Third-party apps are applications that allow users to access Reddit without using the official app or website. They are developed by independent developers who use Reddit's API to fetch and display content from the site. Some of the most popular third-party apps are Apollo, Relay, Infinity, Sync, Reddit is Fun, and Narwhal.
Third-party apps are popular among many Reddit users because they offer more features, customization options, better performance, and less intrusive ads than the official app. They also support adult content, which is excluded from Reddit's API. Many users prefer third-party apps over the official app because they feel they respect their privacy and preferences more.
What is Reddit's new API pricing scheme and why is it controversial?
Reddit's new API pricing scheme is a change in how Reddit charges third-party app developers for using its API. Previously, Reddit did not charge any fees for using its API, but it limited the number of requests that each app could make per minute. Now, Reddit plans to charge $12,000 for 50 million requests per month, which is far above what other sites charge for similar services. For example, Imgur, an image-hosting site that is often used by Reddit users, charges $166 for 50 million requests per month.
Reddit's new API pricing scheme is controversial because it could make many third-party apps unaffordable or unsustainable for their developers. Some of the most popular third-party apps have millions of users and make hundreds of millions of requests per month. For instance, Apollo, a popular iOS app, announced that it would face a $20 million-a-year bill under the new pricing scheme.
Other third-party app developers have also expressed their dismay and frustration over the new pricing scheme. The developer of Reddit is Fun said that the new pricing scheme would likely kill his app. The developer of Narwhal said that his app would be dead in 30 days when the pricing kicks in on July 1.
In addition to the high fees, Reddit's new API pricing scheme also requires third-party app developers to block ads in their apps, which make up the majority of their revenue. This would force them to adopt a paid subscription model or rely on donations from users to survive.
How are Reddit users and developers protesting against the new pricing scheme?
Reddit users and developers are planning to protest against the new pricing scheme by participating in a sitewide blackout on June 12. The blackout will involve hundreds of subreddits (communities on Reddit) going dark for 48 hours. This means that they will not allow any posts or comments during that period. The blackout is intended to show Reddit how much users value third-party apps and how much traffic they generate for the site.
Some of the subreddits that have confirmed their participation in the blackout are r/gaming, r/Music, r/Pics, r/AskReddit, r/IAmA, r/Books, r/Science, r/Movies, r/History, r/Art, r/Fitness, r/PersonalFinance, r/LifeProTips, r/EarthPorn, r/Documentaries, r/PhotoshopBattles, r/WritingPrompts, r/DataIsBeautiful, r/GetMotivated, r/UpliftingNews, r/DIY, r/Gadgets, r/Listentothis, r/InternetIsBeautiful, r/Futurology, r/OldSchoolCool, r/Showerthoughts, r/TIFU, r/Jokes, r/NotTheOnion, r/MildlyInteresting, r/Space, r/Aww, r/Food, r/Funny, r/TodayILearned, and many more.
The full list of subreddits participating in the blackout can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Save3rdPartyApps/comments/nwqg3c/list_of_subreddits_participating_in_the_blackout/
The protest is also supported by a new subreddit called r/Save3rdPartyApps, which was created to raise awareness and organize resistance against Reddit's new API pricing scheme. The subreddit has over 100,000 subscribers and is growing rapidly. The subreddit also calls for Reddit to lower its API fees by a factor of 15 to 20, which would make them more comparable to other sites like Imgur.
What is Reddit's response to the protest and the backlash?
Reddit has not officially responded to the protest or the backlash yet. However, some Reddit employees have commented on the issue on various subreddits and forums. One of them, u/HideHideHidden, who is a senior product manager at Reddit, said that the new API pricing scheme was not intended to kill third-party apps, but to cover the costs of running the API service. He also said that Reddit was open to feedback and willing to work with third-party app developers to find a solution.
Another Reddit employee, u/KeyserSosa, who is CTO and a senior engineer at Reddit, said that the new API pricing scheme was not final and that Reddit was still testing different models. He also said that Reddit was not trying to force users to use the official app, but to provide a consistent and reliable service for all users.
However, many Reddit users and developers are skeptical of these statements and accuse Reddit of being greedy and dishonest. They claim that Reddit is trying to eliminate third-party apps and force users to use the official app, which has more ads and less features. They also claim that Reddit is trying to silence dissent and censor criticism by removing posts and comments that oppose the new API pricing scheme.