If Reddit's Paid API plans become reality, free third-party Reddit apps are doomed

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 19, 2023

Reddit posted an "update regarding Reddit's API" today on the official Reddit subforum on the site. In it, the company explains that it will be updating its terms for developers "to ensure developers have the tools and information they need to continue to use Reddit safely, protect our users' privacy and security, and adhere to local regulations".

Broken down to its core, Reddit plans to limit access to its Developer Platform. The post is vague, but the main takeaways are that Reddit will commercialize its API and limit access to the API for free developers and access to mature content.

The company claims that its API will still be "open for appropriate use cases and accessible" via its Developer Platform, but it will introduce rate limits.


The information is vague and does not reveal additional details. Reddit did not provide information on the rate limits, API access costs, what it considers appropriate use cases, and how it plans to handle mature content access in the future.

One Reddit app developer, the creator of the Apollo App, posted additional details on the apps' forum on Reddit after contacting Reddit for clarification.

In the calls, Reddit confirmed that it is moving to a paid API model for apps. The company claimed that its main intention is for it to cover the costs of usage and lost revenue. Lost revenue refers to Reddit not being able to earn revenue from users of third-party apps.

Reddit stated that the API cost will be usage based, but details were not provided on these costs at the time. Additionally, Reddit does not seem to be interested in offering free usage of the API for the majority of third-party apps out there.  Mature content, or NSFW content, might not be accessible via APIs in the future, but the company admitted that it had not finalized the decision at that point.

Closing Words

All in all, it is clear that the third-party application landscape for Reddit will change significantly later this year. Many free apps will vanish or move to a subscription model. Paid Reddit apps that charged a one-time fee may also need to move to a subscription model to take into account the usage-based API access fees.

Reddit apps optimized for the access of NSFW content will likely be doomed, provided that Reddit does not have a change of heart in the last minute and keeps access to mature content available through its API. In that event, these apps may also need to charge for access using a subscription-based model.

Reddit may have hopes that users of third-party apps will move to the official Reddit app instead. Reddit plans to reveal more about its plans, including information about limits and price, in the coming weeks. Plans are to launch the updated Terms and API access in June.

Access in web browsers remains free, as it is direct access. The move looks like a repeat of Twitter's decision to drop its Free API.

Now You: do you use Reddit?

If Reddit's Paid API plans become reality, free third-party Reddit apps are doomed
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If Reddit's Paid API plans become reality, free third-party Reddit apps are doomed
Reddit plans to charge for API access later this year, and this could mean the end of all free third-party Reddit apps and several paid apps.
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  1. Anonymous said on April 19, 2023 at 11:19 pm

    The quality of Reddit is declining. Their latest forced mobile design is awful. I hope something else comes along to take its place. Can we just return to the forums, please. It was noticeably superior.

    1. Mystique said on April 20, 2023 at 12:25 pm

      There are small pockets of Reddit that are still fine but overall I sense the decline also.
      I agree, the new design is the pits! The only way to really browse reddit with any reasonable degree of sanity is through a third party app or a web front end such as the two mentioned above. There are several others also to consider but those are the two that came to mind.

      Yes! I will never know why the forums/web boards fell out of favour but they are much better and easier to navigate no matter what software they are running really.
      I still visit communities run on forums that are doing well so I am grateful for that. I feel as though the entire escape from forums was due in part to the vulnerability of being taken down.

  2. Tom Hawack said on April 19, 2023 at 3:48 pm

    Yep, it’s always been Reddit to Teddit like Ready-Teddy, a handy front-end though read-only. Of course i hope what is for now a vague announcement will not end up with a prohibitive cost for third-parties.

    Money has always been a target (more or less) but obviously it’s becoming a rush, the rush which spins inflation.
    Que sera sera, whatever will be will be. Dramas are elsewhere.

  3. Mystique said on April 19, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Reddit’s latest update is balls ugly and its likely it will soon be replaced by something else in time anyway.

    I have noticed a few things have already been locked away from non-registered users even on web browsers such as sorting. I will never understand why sorting is not set at default from oldest to newest so you can follow a conversation at its natural progression.
    Often at times if the original poster uploads an image and makes a comment separately straight after to give some valuable context to the image despite it being posted before anyone else it still may not remain on the top. If someone else comes in with a more popular comment that may often add little to the conversation than the nucleus of the entire post then it gets bumped up higher in the “best” sorting. Good luck making sense of anything after that as you cannot follow the conversation(s) in a chronological order which would make sense and give comments value.
    I honestly cannot believe the level of mental stupidity that values a sorting method that often rewards stupidity that is seemingly curated by a larger bunch of morons.

    As for twitter well, that is another kettle of rotting fish and will soon be replaced by something else. Given the way that service is tracking it won’t be long before we see that transpire.

    In regards to apps absolutely! It is a cesspool designed purely to mine data and tunnel it off for the company behind it to build a profile around you and to make money from.
    Browser are of little to no help here since many of them do not support a large array of extensions or in the case of chrome none at all (surprise surprise) whilst Kiwi is choosing to selectively allow some ads whilst blocking others.
    Gaining root access to your phone is considered a crucial step whilst using something like AdAway as mentioned above is also a good move.
    Third party apps can be good and if we are going to go down this path then where does it end.

    Federated apps/services are not doing it right now.

    Web browsing could be a lot better on phones but it simply is not and I don’t see Google throwing their support behind anything that sacrifices their income and evil intentions. The fact that they have deliberately designed the entire android system to favor such practices will not help either nevermind the fact that anything that goes through googleplay is almost certainly tracking you and monetizing you whilst mining data and building a profile on you to better extract money off of you.

    There will be ways around it in a similar way. Maybe using troddit, teddit or a similar in web frontend is a browser is the way forward.
    I noticed Troddit had some issue with Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection on Android devices.

  4. Frankel said on April 19, 2023 at 10:11 am

    Gen z is so obsessed with using apps as crutches. There already is a free API with ad blocking capabilities: It is called a browser. Ever used a browser on a phone to access r*ddit? You are instantly greeted by spam to install the official app.

    I see why companies want you to only use their app and no 3rd party ones: The precious data they can syphon off your device.

    Apps are cancerous. They require fake local-VPN based ad blockers and routing of all traffic through another app to block ads. Adaway is a good way to make official aps ad free.

    1. ECJ said on April 19, 2023 at 11:51 am

      Yeah, totally agree.

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