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2023-05-31 22:39:11| Engadget

Reddits recently-announced plan to charge for API access could price out the developer of one of the most popular third-party Reddit apps. The developer of Reddit client Apollo is raising the alarm on the new API pricing, saying the changes would require him to spend millions of dollars to keep his app going in its current form.Reddit announced sweeping changes to its API rules last month, citing the rise of AI companies using their platform to train large language models. The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman told The New York Times. But we dont need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free.But it now seems that independent app makers will also be subject to the pricier new plans, which are set to take effect June 19th. While Reddit hasnt officially disclosed its API pricing, Christian Selig, Apollos sole developer, says he would have to pay $20 million to keep his app going as-is under the new policies.50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined, he wrote in a post on Reddit, citing multiple conversations hes had with Reddit representatives about the upcoming API changes. 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.That pricing leaves Selig and Apollo, which has been widely praised for its design details and for providing functionality beyond Reddits native app, in a tough position. While the app does offer subscriptions, its current revenue isnt enough to cover the steep API cost. He says that the average user makes about 344 API calls a day, which would require him to raise subscription prices to at least $2.50 a month (currently, he says, most subscribers pay $0.99 a month). Furthermore, that wouldnt account for Apollos power users, who use the app at much higher rates, or the apps free users. Even keeping the existing, subscription only users I would be SUBSTANTIALLY in the red each month, Selig tells Engadget.In a statement, a Reddit spokesperson said that Selig was provided pricing per 1,000 API calls, not a monthly bill, but declined to share details. Our pricing is based on usage levels that we measure to be as equitable as possible, the spokesperson said. Weve been, and will continue, to work with third-party apps to help them improve efficiency, which can significantly impact overall cost.If all of this sounds oddly familiar, there are striking similarities between Reddits new developer rules and the drastic changes Twitter has made to its API policies under Elon Musk. In Twitters case, the company decided to ban third-party client apps while simultaneously making its API extraordinarily expensive for the researchers and businesses that previously depended on higher levels of access to Twitter data.Of note, Reddit hasnt been as outwardly hostile to developers. Selig notes that hes had multiple calls with Reddit and that reps hes spoken to have been communicative and civil about the changes. And a Reddit spokesperson suggested the company wants to keep third-party apps around.Were committed to fostering a developer ecosystem around Reddit developers and third-party apps can make Reddit better, the spokesperson said. Our Data API has powered thousands of applications, such as tools to make moderation easier, and utilities that help users stay up to date on their favorite topics, and games. Developers are incredibly valuable to the Reddit ecosystem, so much so that we recently updated our Developer Platform.Still, Selig said hes uncertain about how he will handle the changes. I hope it goes without saying that I don't have that kind of money, he shared on Reddit. This is going to require some thinking.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/reddit-app-developer-says-the-sites-new-api-rules-will-cost-him-20-million-a-year-203911487.html?src=rss

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