back to article Reddit blackout planned over app-killing API prices

It didn't take long for the Reddit community to react angrily to details of the site's planned API pricing, with dozens of one million user-plus subreddits and hundreds of others joining a planned 48-hour blackout protest due to start next week. While Reddit announced plans to charge for API use in mid April, it wasn't until …

  1. Jim Mitchell
    IT Angle

    How important to Reddit traffic and ad views are these third party apps? I've never heard of them, but I am not an "app" user in general.

    1. -maniax-
      FAIL

      Reddit (desktop) user here

      I have no idea about the numbers for the various apps vs the official app but what I can say is hardly a day goes by where I don't see someone commenting about how bad the official Reddit app is in comparison to the third party apps and those comments are from general users as opposed to the various sub mods who, as the article says, make extensive use of third party tools because the official app doesn't support the sort of tools\features they need to make use of

      Fail icon for the way Reddit appears to be enthusiastically driving at speed down the same path to irrelevance and abandonment that other social media sites have previously taken such as MySpace, Digg (and Twitter?)

    2. Ken Y-N
      Thumb Down

      Reddit is Fun on Android user here - can't tell you about traffic, although I do believe it is true that there are a lot of app-using power users and mods.

      RIF runs its own ads (which I always thought was a bit cheeky) or a one-off $3 ad-free version. I'd like to say that I'll quit if RIF dies, but I'll probably hang around with the official app, then give up if it's as crap as everyone says. BTW, I use FaceBook, but only though the website on Android, not the app as I don't want Meta as well as Google tracing my every move, as I suspect the official Reddit app might like to do.

  2. karlkarl Silver badge

    I don't really care about apps.

    However, this monetision concerns me. Once apps are monetised to the last drop of their life, what next? Subscription, ads, charging for channels, etc? Reddit looks to be starting to die like Facebook and Twitter.

  3. The Basis of everything is...
    Stop

    it's all about API monitisation

    Look at any API Management platform and you'll find features for monetisation. It's a key feature, not just a nice to have. Develop a free service, persuade other to use it, adopt it, grow it and base their existence on it and then when you reach sufficient volume you start charging. Your uses either have to pay up or go out of business.

    Monetization with Azure API Management https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/api-management/monetization-overview

    Monetize your custom HTTP APIs via AWS Data Exchange https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/awsmarketplace/monetize-your-custom-http-apis-via-aws-data-exchange/

    Overview of Apigee monetization https://cloud.google.com/apigee/docs/api-platform/monetization/overview

    1. bocan

      Re: it's all about API monitisation

      There's a new-ish term for that: enshittification

  4. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

    Imgur is dead, reddit will soon be too

    Imgur used to be a fun place, it's been heading down the toilet for years... their 'alleged chinese' backers demanding an end to any and all smut... over zealous mods and trigger happy admins who ban anyone who dares to be critical... or even so much as mention said 'alleged chinese' backers.... I'm not kidding, people have been banned for even mentioning it.

    A mobile app that is unusable and so badly made and infested with ads shoved in your face in a never ending stream of spam...

    No one wants that... no one likes it. I sure as hell won't use their app... I stopped using the site entirely even from desktop... have you seen how many scripts and bots they try to force on you... and the latest one breaks the site if you don't enable their ai-bot

    Fuck that... stop using toxic sites with toxic people in control... at elast you can avoid most of the toxic users by not visiting the toxic /r groups.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone else catch the Apollo callouts in WWDC

    The App logo was front and center in several screenshots during the presentation.

    I suspect that Apples social media team might have been a tad annoyed at having both a handy tool they used threatened and that the social media blitz they had planned will now be stepped on by the subreddit blackouts that are coming.

    Reddit has been bending over backwards to bury content and break the user experience for their own site. F them. If the block API access people will post a proxy site that just scrapes content. Not much that they could do to stop that, and then they can kiss any slice of the revenue goodby.

  6. Nate Amsden

    just charge the users?

    Unsure why Reddit wants to charge the people making the apps. I'd expect instead that if you wanted an experience using their APIs without ads like I guess most of the 3rd party apps do (I use boost on android myself, by no means am a reddit power user), then you'd just have a subscription to reddit itself where you pay them a reasonable fee for that service, and when you sign in with your 3rd party app the reddit system sees you are a paid user at some tier. I suppose if you wanted to remain anonymous maybe crypto payments or something could play a role, for me personally I'd just use a virtual credit card from Citibank (which, last I checked was the only bank I could find that still offered virtual CCs, used to use Shopsafe with Bank of America until they killed that product several years ago, guessing they weren't interested in upgrading it to a post Adobe Flash era). I don't use my real name on reddit(unlike here, don't even know why I did that but whatever), but am sure have given enough signs in my comments/posts over the years that if someone wanted to identify me they probably could with some effort(and that wouldn't really bother me much).

    If you didn't want to pay and use 3rd party apps then there should be some way to "force" the ads on those apps (short of being able to get around things like DNS based ad blockers etc).

    I'm certainly willing to shell out maybe even $10/mo for that (ideally it'd be free but in this new era..I get a decent value out of browsing reddit, and I do pay for a (legacy) linkedin subscription which was $95 for the year(just charged me recently), I don't really need it(right now, have had the subscription for over a decade I think), but I feel it's a worthy investment for career purposes, and if I were to let it lapse, then I couldn't maintain the legacy pricing that I have, the cheapest paid plan they have today seems like it is $360/year)

    I get that they seem to be trying to exploit the recent AI LLM systems and bill them high for the data that Reddit has that may be valuable to some.

    I'm even willing to shell out to El reg for an ad free experience(which I already have with ublock origin on firefox), though El reg doesn't seem interested in that kind of model(last I heard anyway).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just charge the users?

      Can't see many paying to use an app for Reddit if the browser is free. Doesn't make sense. I use Apollo as it is way more convenient on a phone or tablet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: just charge the users?

      I think you've got something here - they could just add "3rd party client access" to the existing Reddit Premium features list,

      I think this would work quite fairly - free users would use the Reddit app which has ads, whilst paid users would be able to use a client of their choice (which would not show ads).

      The bonus for Reddit here is that a) the users would pay Reddit directly, like you do for Reddit Premium already, and b) 3rd party app users can then be free/charge minimal amounts still.

  7. t245t Silver badge
    Joke

    What Reddit community?

    If this was Reddit, ya'll would be banned by now.

    Average Reddit Moderator

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: What Reddit community?

      I ditched Reddit years ago after a moderator went power crazy deleting several of my posts for no valid reason. (He claimed they breached copyright, which was a load of testicles.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Geddit right

    The all-powerful uber gods are paid (employee) admins.

    Us unpaid lackeys in the subreddits are moderators.

  9. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    I Memed This

    You know, based on the defenestration meme:

    https://i.imgur.com/vB61uTt.png

  10. Barry Rueger

    Just waiting for the inevitable collapse.

    I can remember the early glory days of the Internet. Now I feel like I'm biding my time waiting for the whole damned thing to just collapse into a pile a steaming dying electronic trash.

    Things like Facebook or Twitter, that used to be fun, and popular, now seem lost, with algorithms that just seem to get worse and worse, and rules and restrictions that sometimes defy all logic.

    Tools that only a few years ago were useful, and even essential keep getting "updated" and "improved" to the point where the basic functions are almost impossible to use, with idiotic features and advertising overtaking everything.

    Greed rules all, whether greed for money, or greed for power - or, lately, greed for assholery.

    What so much of the Internet doesn't understand is this: people do have a limits, and one day they'll just say "to hell with it"

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Just waiting for the inevitable collapse.

      Quite right. If the Internet gets much more unusable we’ll all just go back to makin’ our own entertainment, like in the good old days. A stick-and-hoop to bowl along, a well-seasoned conker on a string, a skipping rope… excellent clean, healthy pursuits. Mens sana in corpore sano, and all that…

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Just waiting for the inevitable collapse.

      "algorithms that just seem to get worse and worse"

      My recent membership of Twitter lasted all of thirty minutes. I browsed some posts and followed a few scientists then got blocked saying there was unusual activity on my account. To unblock the suspension I had to give Twitter my mobile phone number. Not going to happen, so that was the end of that.

      I hardly use Facebook now... at one time I was a member of lots of hobby / special interest groups, but one day a flaky Facebook algorithm thought I was a bot and blocked me from liking posts for the day. This led to the realisation that I was spending too much time on there, so quit most of the groups with the exception of a couple there were no alternative internet forums for. My Facebook usage plummeted so the algorithm then started suggesting lots of groups that I'd maybe like to join! It can't have it both ways. I hardly visit at all now. So much crap on there - especially their suggested short films/reels which couldn't be any worse a match to my interests if they tried. It is also an ongoing battle between my adblocker and Facebook's adblocker-blocker. Why do they even bother? I've not once clicked on an ad; they are all just so irrelevant. As for their "marketplace" it is just stuffed full of obvious scams.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Just waiting for the inevitable collapse.

      You just described computing in general these days.

      Far too much circle jerking wankery of benefit to nobody but the CxOs.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Key Background Info

    The key background info here is:

    * The official reddit app only covers the "base" functionality that many 3rd party apps cover

    * Thus things like accessibility is far inferior to many 3rd party clients (go look at r/blind and the complaints about killing off 3rd party apps)

    * Moderation tools and features are far inferior to many 3rd party clients and is straight up missing feature parity and even just features matching all of what's available in Reddit's moderation APIs (requirements/work focus issue - they have gone "the app is for users" which was fine when moderators had alt choices, but soon they won't and the official reddit app does not meet the needs)

    * Loyalty - many people have been using 3rd party apps for 10y+, and having that taken away is never going to go down well

    IMO, Reddit would have been better off saying "all 3rd party apps are being killed regardless" rather than this "pricing it out of reach" nonsense - it certainly would have resulted in less of a negative PR event for them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lemmy…winks

    It’s time the bigger subreddits pooled resources to cohost some Lemmy instances together. There is no reason for Reddit to profit and the market is very quickly working this out.

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