back to article Reddit cuts five percent of workers while API pricing shift sours developers

Social media community Reddit plans to lay off about 90 employees, amounting to about five percent of its 2,000-person staff. A company spokesperson confirmed the cuts in an email to The Register, stating that the whole company's restructuring is part of changes to Reddit's data, API and mod tools projects. Word of the job …

  1. localzuk Silver badge

    Boggles my mind

    What exactly do 2000 employees *do* for Reddit?

    I have the same question about the volume of employees at a lot of other websites too. I don't understand what they need so many employees for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boggles my mind

      It's the same kind of deal for Twitter - what does that many employees do?

      I guess the answers primarily go into further business stuff (events, PR, marketing, etc) and then things like content moderation (and remember that they have large user bases!)

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: Boggles my mind

        Most content moderation on Reddit is done by the moderators of the individual subs, though. So how much content moderation is actually left for Reddit to do?

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Boggles my mind

      Back when I was the sole sysadmin for a medium sized company I got asked exactly what I did by the CEO. My reply was along the lines of "apart from keeping the network and email running, upgrading machines regularly, fixing you forgetting your password at least once a week, magicing out of thin air machines for new hires nobody told me about until they started work, monitoring disk usage and upgrading before the space runs out, troubleshooting and generally wiping the noses and arses of ~100 users, half of whom wouldn't actually be let anywhere near a computer in a sane world, not a lot. But I can stop doing it and we can find out whether it's important." I think it was the bit about his password that get through to him.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Always amused when people say something like that

      Usually without pausing a moment to look outside.

      Like twitter has found out with increasing frequency, those systems didn't build themselves. Reddits user to employee ratio is pretty decent all things considered, and while they can probably lose the headcount they announced, it's not like the rest of company is sitting on it's hands all day.

      That said there are probably plenty of those people who are earning their paychecks and still don't do a thing for you or your average user. Those ads don't sell themselves.

      I for one hope that most of the people that got cut were the idiots that keep making the mobile site worse with every update, or block access to non-controversial content unless you are signed in. Or farming your browsing info to google.

      Not holding my breath on that last bit though.

    4. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Boggles my mind

      "I don't understand what they need so many employees for."

      Compliance monitoring for international requirements could be a biggy.

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    Meanwhile at Twitter

    [Elon Musk] Only 5% of workforce? Pfft! Only downsizing their offices? Pfft! Only $0.24 per 1,000 API calls? Pfft! Amateurs!

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile at Twitter

      Pfft! Amateurs

      And they are probably still paying the rent for their office space too. Indeed ... amateurs.

  3. fairwinds

    Exactly how many API calls are they making?

    A fee of $0.24 per thousand API calls would result in a fee of $2,000,000 per month??!! The back of the envelope says they’re making around 3,000 calls per second. That’s a lot of traffic! I think I’d be charging too.

    1. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

      It's a widely used app with a lot of users.

      When you're making a reader app (basically to let someone read and post on Reddit), then every screen load needs to pull comments on the page, datestamps, usernames, avatars, award things, up/downvote totals, attachments and all that. Depending on how reddit structures things, that could easily be a hundred calls. Per user, per pageload.

      (of course, if it's structured to have fewer calls, then firstly it's less useful as it's harder to customise for the end user, and secondly it's still the same data volume).

      1. brotherelf

        Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

        So remind me again why these apps do not let/make the user provide their own API token?

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

          Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

          Because the Reddit API doesn't allow users to do that, probably.

          You'll also notice that one of the big issues with Apollo is that even if he could do that, 30 days to rewrite the app and change his infrastructure to support it just isn't enough time.

          Money is one issue, but it's not the only issue.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

            I wonder what the difference is between using a 3rd party app calling the APIs and using the officially provided app calling the APIs? Do you get charged the same if you use the official app instead of a 3rd party one? If no, why not?

            1. Catkin

              Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

              You don't get charged the same because using the original app lets them harvest much greater amounts of saleable data, push adverts more aggressively and lock you into a feed structure of their own choosing.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

      The back of the envelope says they’re making around 3,000 calls per second.

      It's entirely possible an app has more than 3000 users using it at the same time on average...

      Why should Reddit charge the people who make the content that it publishes (via app subscription fees to app developers who will have to pass the charge on)? It's just yet more enshittification, like YouTube's recent algorithm change which buries videos and offers content creators the change to pay to make them more visible.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Exactly how many API calls are they making?

      >I think I’d be charging too.

      >A fee of $0.24 per thousand API calls would result in a fee of $2,000,000 per month?

      I think most people agree that there should/ultimately needs to be a charge, but most of these 3rd party Reddit clients are made by one lone developer who cannot possibly afford to pay Reddit $2,000,000/month.

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

    This is Pretty Much Something Out of Dilbert

    Unfortunately, Scott Adams is a racist dirt bag, and Mark Mareki's "Two Fisted Business Management" was canceled about 3½ decades ago.

    Anyone have a suggestion for a successor cartoon?

  5. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Rent in SF

    For a lot of what a worker at an internet business does, it could be done from home or anywhere in the world. Why do these companies think that they need extremely expensive office space in someplace like San Francisco? I don't buy the argument that it's where the people that work there want to live. Even the execs find the home prices rather painful which means the workers have no choice but to live in a converted closet, have no life/possesions/family or commute into and out of the city every day while still paying eye-watering rents. I know people that have worked in Silicon Valley and while salaries can be generous, the cost of living consumes nearly all of it on a monthly basis. Being out of work for 2 weeks can be catastrophic and companies come and go with little to no warning.

    I live in a small town with some rough areas, but the cost of living is super low. I've been able to pay off the house, the car and live much better than I could in someplace like San Jose, CA. Even in such a small town we have a bunch of internet options even though landline phones exist no longer. The local phone company has just started offering very fast fibre connections for a bit less than the local cable company. Verizon offers 5G data services for a good price and there's also Viasaat and Hughes and every once in a while, Starlink but it can get hot in the summer so their system can sometimes punk out during the day. It's also prohibitively expensive compared to the wired options. I could work for somebody such as Reddit just as effectively as I could sitting in their office (for many postitions). Reddit could locate here and have ready access to plenty of bandwidth, power and other facilities for far less and could have kept those discharged employees if they wanted with money left over for lunch. I would also expect that those employees would be in a good position to buy their own homes if they acted before the supply dried up which can happen when a company moves someplace and adds a bunch of jobs.

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