Reddit may ask an app developer to pay $20 Million a year for API access - Is this the end of third-party apps?

Jun 1, 2023

Reddit may be on the verge of killing third-party apps that are used to access its service. The developer of the Apollo app says that social network has informed them it would cost $20 Million a year to continue using its API.

The issue came to light in April, but the company had promised that its API prices would be reasonable. Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo for Reddit app for iOS, had some calls with the website's representatives to sort out the future of his app. According to a post that he shared on his app's subreddit, it would cost $12,000 per 50 million API requests.

For context, an API request is an attempt to access Reddit, for example to sign in to your account, read a post, refresh the current page, etc. An average Apollo user makes about 344 requests per day or about 10,600 per month, which costs approximately $2.50 per month for a user. The developer says that his app has around 1.3 to 1.5 Million active users, and about 7000 of those users are moderators of various subreddits. The app also has around 20,000 subscribers in its paid plans. Selig says that Apollo made about 7 billion requests last month, so it would cost the developer a fee of around $1.7 Million a month, or $20 Million per year. In comparison, the popular image sharing service, Imgur, charges $166 for 50 Million API calls.

Is this the end of third-party apps for Reddit

Reddit makes a lot of revenue from ads and by selling Reddit Premium subscriptions, these are reportedly in the range of $600 Million with about 430M active users (around $1.40 per year/user, and about $0.12/month). Selig called out Reddit for being unfair in its pricing, claiming that it costs 20 times more than what the site could be earning from a user. The post mentions July 1st as the last date as the deadline for accessing Reddit's API for free.

The developer of the Narwhal app also confirmed that they had a similar call with Reddit, and the pricing that they were informed of was in the same range, i.e. it would cost them $1 to $2 Million a year. They also said that the app could be dead in 30 days.

Selig says that he has been in touch with Reddit's team to discuss the future of his app, and that they are still working out a solution regarding the fee for accessing the API, as the proposed fee would not be affordable even if he charges more for subscriptions.

Is this the end of third-party apps for Reddit?

Greedy much, Reddit? Whose bright idea was this? I can't imagine how anyone could have thought that this was a reasonable fee to get from an app developer. This ridiculous fee is more of a way to tell third-party app developers to walk away, it does seem for all intents and purposes an unofficial ban on third-party apps. It is absurd that a website that is built on the backbone of users and moderators who work for free is resorting to predatory pricing. I'm not quite sure what else to say about this fiasco.

Let's look at the alternatives for users. If Reddit ends support for third-party clients, you will have two options to access the site, the website on desktop, and the official mobile app on Android and iOS. When you try browsing Reddit's mobile website, it tries to display a banner that asks you to use the mobile app. You could bypass this by using, but I'm not sure how long that would be around.

Reddit's mobile app is atrocious, to say that it is ugly in an understatement. It's a convoluted mess that is riddled with ads that are quite often disguised like real posts, which make it difficult to navigate, let alone engage with comments. This is precisely why third-party apps are popular among mobile users, they are usually well-designed, have a clean interface that is customizable, and many of them offer an ad-free experience which is good for your privacy and the phone's battery life.

I'd say that in today's world, most of Reddit's traffic comes from smartphones than computers. If the company's financial plans are indeed accurate as reported, this wouldn't just spell an end for third-party apps, I think that Reddit would be shooting itself in the foot. There's a good chance that the site would lose the majority of its users, and could end up like Digg, a memory of the past.

There is a possibility that some third-party apps could allow users to use their own API, which would give us a way to continue using the apps for free, and without burdening the app developers. Then again, this entirely depends on whether Reddit would allow the free tier of the API to continue, you can read their latest statement here.

I have used various Reddit apps in the past from Reddit is Fun, Narwhal, Apollo, Sync, Boost, ReddPlanet, to name a few. All of these have provided an ad-free, and a highly polished experience to browse the site.  There are dozens of open source Reddit apps whose developers have provided their services for free, I've notably been impressed with RedReader and Infinity. It's a real shame that these projects may come to an end because of soulless corporate greed.

Reddit has been a treasure trove of information for me for the past decade or so, not merely as a source of news. I've used it to learn new things like how to mod game consoles and other devices, engage with fans of games and sports, finding good deals on games and gadgets, to keep myself up-to-date with upcoming books, read interesting AMAs, etc. I spend well over an hour or two everyday browsing Reddit, but sometimes I simply scroll through the feed rather aimlessly. If Reddit were to kill third party apps, and possibly end support for the old design, I think it might actually be good for my productivity. I'm sure there are others who would feel the same way.

What would you do if Reddit ends support for third-party apps? Would you stop using Reddit? And if so, where will you go to?

Is this the end of third-party apps for Reddit?
Article Name
Is this the end of third-party apps for Reddit?
The developer of Apollo for Reddit has revealed that he may be asked to pay $20 Million a year for API access.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Mystique said on June 9, 2023 at 3:31 am

    With many apps and projects to follow I would like to add Reddplanet on that list of departing apps after the 30th of June.

    An attempt to create a data scrapper has also been underway but was met with a banning and links removed.

    On the 9th of June the reddit ceo will be doing an AMA on the new api but I honestly do not see this changing a thing.
    I honestly expect that to decent into madness and protests.

  2. Mystique said on June 9, 2023 at 3:01 am

    I think it’s time to create a new article ad things has changed rapidly with several developers call it quits on their app such as Apollo, sync and riff.

    This has all been sparked by the complete breakdown of communication and worst of all accusations from reddit that the developer of Apollo had threatened and attempted to blackmail reddit which was then vigorously refuted by the app developer with a large statement backed by audio recordings and various evidence of the very conversation and also previous communications.

    Several more subs are going black some have stated that they will go longer than 48hrs if need be whilst there has been a huge level of protest forming and seemingly a mass exodus from reddit.

    Its becoming a real firestorm and I honestly don’t think reddit can redeem or recover itself at this point.

    What needs to be pointed out is that I believe this planned change may also affect teddit, troddit and various other instances to some extent. I honestly do not see reddit keeping old reddit around in the future.

    In the face of this behaviour it is time to create/prepare an article listing all the alternatives to reddit and weigh out their validity as the situation is reaching is rapidly reaching a point of which there may be no return.

    1. Ashwin said on June 9, 2023 at 6:24 am

      Thank you, I’m on it already. Reddit’s greed has gone too far.

      As for alternatives, I can only think of Lemmy, but I haven’t used it much.

  3. Anonymous said on June 2, 2023 at 1:36 am

    What the… Greed at its finest. With that money you could just build your own alternative.

  4. John G. said on June 1, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    OMG, 20M just for using an API that just makes greater a site!

    1. Mystique said on June 2, 2023 at 6:14 am

      Reddit saw one ego maniac with a superiority complex charge absurd amounts of money for API access and figure we can do it too.

  5. Tachy said on June 1, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Stop using a phone as a browser and you won’t have any of these problems.

    1. Kirk said on June 7, 2023 at 5:24 am

      The new Reddit UI is garbage too. They have come for the API today, they will come for old reddit tomorrow.

    2. John G. said on June 1, 2023 at 7:24 pm

      At first I have laughed a lot with your phrase, however after a couple of minutes I can’t be more agree. In my humble opinion, it’s the best line that I have read today.

  6. Yash said on June 1, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    I use Infinity and I don’t have a reddit account. Reddit website is trash and I use Libreddit on desktop. For me it would not change much but for someone who has an account, it changes everything. However unlike Twitter which is still 1% credible because of journalists & politicians and celebrities, Reddit doesn’t have same privilege. Reddit is popular because of users. These changes will ultimately drive users away and there is no baby child billionaire to burn cash on a sinking ship.

    I expect alternatives reddit sites will surpass Reddit’s popularity if these changes happen.

    1. Frankel said on June 3, 2023 at 11:12 am

      You underestimate how lazy people are migrating to a new service. Mastodon is pretty much irrelevant too. Also the people with 12000 karma/good boy points will refuse to do another “from rags to riches” as their street cred would be gone.

      1. Kirk said on June 7, 2023 at 5:22 am

        Ironically, I have a ton of those ‘karma’ despite being on my third account. But I’ll jump onto a new service if 3rd party app devs and users are doing so. I’ll probably keep my Reddit account but it seems like they are on their way to Digg ing their own grave.

  7. TelV said on June 1, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Well, it wouldn’t bother me if Google, Facebook, Instagram and similar get clobbered since they can afford it, but non-profit making apps should be exempt.

  8. Iron Heart said on June 1, 2023 at 10:20 am

    Pfft, third party clients like Infinity or Apollo are certainly preferable, but in case this is out, one can still mod the official app with ReVanced manager (as long as one is on Android):

    You can include this as a possible solution in your article, Martin.

    1. Mystique said on June 1, 2023 at 2:56 pm

      Last I tried any of these it was just the same thing with a little less of foul odor but it was still hot garbage.

      I appreciate you bringing it up though because some people may want it.
      I recall receiving push notifications also whilst also the app itself still being heavy and trash by comparison to virtually any other third party app such as infinity, Relay Pro, Apollo, Boost, BaconReader etc etc.

      The vibe I am getting is that there is a push to move to Lemmy. I couple of subreddits are testing things out there such as Privacy Guides last I checked.

      1. Kirk said on June 7, 2023 at 5:18 am

        The official app is heavy, has promoted links even in the modded version and is very less customizable. I have used most 3rd party clients(Boost and RedReader the most) and each was an improvement over the official one.

        Also, on a slight tangent, Reddit Premium is useless. I was ‘gifted’ one month of it once but saw no difference on old reddit with uBlock origin; just access to a new subreddit for Premium folks back then.

      2. Some Dude said on June 1, 2023 at 6:16 pm

        > it was just the same thing with a little less of foul odor but it was still hot garbage.

        Well yes, because it was still reddit.

      3. Mystique said on June 1, 2023 at 7:20 pm

        Reddit isn’t all bad, there are some subs that are decent but it would have been nice if web boards could have a visually pleasing way for portable devices such as phones and tablets to easily browse them and be a part of the community but as it happens software like phpBB has done little to nothing to adapt or look at ways to bring in said users which is not only sad but stupid.
        The other thing about web boards is that it is entirely too easy to exploit them or take them down for whatever the reason. There are also too few safe harbors such as hosts and countries that will not buckle to the will of one country or entity for some forums to run also if that is what you are into.

    2. ricolulu said on June 1, 2023 at 1:16 pm

      You can mod it as much as you want but the official app will still be a steaming pile of garbage, albeit a slightly more bearable one.

  9. Jim Brown said on June 1, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Could someone please explain what this article means for a normal human Reddit user? Surely it would be helpful to explain for simpletons like me what a third party Reddit app is and what it does in layman’s terms before launching into a piece as convoluted as Reddit itself.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 1, 2023 at 9:57 am

      Jim, it depends. If you access Reddit in a browser or the official app, then nothing changes for you. If you use a third-party application for Reddit, of which thousands exist, then you may be affected. Reddit is asking for money in return for giving third-party apps access to its data. It was free previously, but that has changed.

      App developers face only a few options now, unless Reddit has a change of heart: close down or try to switch to a subscription model to finance access.

      1. ricolulu said on June 1, 2023 at 1:25 pm

        Reddit *knows* that the price they’re asking is exorbitant and that no developer will be on board with it. What they’re doing isn’t that different from telling them straight in the face to close down.

        They’ve also shut down and 2 months ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re planning on doing the same to and force people to use the redesigned Reddit next.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.