Several Reddit clients including Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet are shutting down

Jun 9, 2023

Multiple third-party clients for Reddit have announced that they are shutting down at the end of the month. This includes the likes of Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet.

We recently reported about the absurd pricing for API that Reddit has in plans. It claims that third-party apps are costing the company millions of dollars in revenue, when they access the site, and wants developers to pay the company. Reddit had revealed that Apollo for iOS makes billions of requests, and according to the developer's calculations this could cost them $20 Million a year, which is not just ridiculous but practically unaffordable.

What do third-party apps for reddit do?

Some of our readers were confused about why this is a big deal, and what third-party apps are used for. Here's a brief explanation about their importance.

Reddit's official mobile app is free to download, which is the only positive thing to say about it. It's little more than a dumpster fire that is riddled with ads, the UI is terrible, and it's not exactly the smoothest in performance either. And if you try to access Reddit via your mobile web browser, it usually displays a pop-up nagging you to download the official app.

Third-party apps created by indie developers allow users to browse Reddit on their mobile phones, there are some apps for desktop computers too. You can think of them as browsers with additional features that offer a polished experience. These apps are usually free to download, and don't display ads that Reddit's official app does (multiple times in a page). Such apps usually have a much better design than the original app's interface. Third-party clients also offer a great deal of customization to personalize the browsing experience. For example, you could use a compact layout to only display text content on the feed, or if you like images or videos, you can use cards with a thumbnail or gallery view.

There is more to it, many third-party apps for Reddit also support accessibility features to help users with various disabilities to browse the website, and interact with other users. The official Reddit app lacks these features, how could a person, say with poor vision, use the app to access the site, without some sort of screen reader features?

Apps like Apollo are very popular among subreddit moderators who use them to manage their forum, i.e. to combat spam, view reports, etc. Many moderators have spoken out to say that the official app lacks these tools, which would ultimately make their work cumbersome, or even impossible. The end of support for the free API that third-party tools use to access will also kill the bots that were created by users, including account scrubbers that one may use to overwrite their comments and post history instead of just deleting their account.  There's also the fact that Reddit wants to remove NSFW content from the free API tier, which may take away the freedom of users to share some stuff, or could kill several subreddits altogether.

If Reddit has its way with the new API pricing, it would spell the end for all third-party apps. This move could likely kill browser extensions such as Reddit Enhancement Suite, and potentially end support for the legacy interface that can be accessed via as well as front-ends like Teddit.

Imagine how you would feel if all browsers were taken away from you, and the only alternative to go online was to use Internet Explorer. That's how bad this is, if users stop using these apps, they will quit using Reddit. Now that you may have understood the importance of third-party apps for Reddit, here's some bad news.

Reddit tries to blame Apollo developer for threatening them

Reddit held a conference call with 15 developers from the community yesterday, and apparently none of these were third-party app developers. The company had initially promised to reconsider the API pricing, but now Reddit seems to have backtracked on its word and is unwilling to negotiate the prices for the API.

According to some notes shared on r/ModCoord, Reddit will exempt any non-commercial accessibility-minded app, bot, or tool (from the API rate limits). Mod tools and bots affected by the API change will also be exempted. The company says it will add accessibility features and mod tools in its apps.

The most bizarre part of the post is the one where Reddit accused Christian Selig, the creator of Apollo, for threatening them. The company claims that Apollo threatened it, saying "they'll make it easy if Reddit gave them $10 Million." It also explained that the prices were worked out to $1/month per user, and if Apollo doesn't pay that, it hits $3/month.

Reddit defended its decision against allowing access to NSFW content, claiming that legal requirements that require users to verify their age before they view mature content poses a problem for the site, especially now that some US States have passed a law making this mandatory.

Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet are shutting down

A few hours after the notes were shared on Reddit, Selig published a detailed post on r/apolloapp to explain his side of the story. The developer found it absurd that Steve Huffman (u/spez), the CEO of Reddit, had mentioned in yesterday's call that "This guy behind the scenes is coercing us. He's threatening us."

Selig noted that many comments had suggested Reddit should just buy Apollo like they did with Alien Blue, if it costs them a lot in terms of revenue. He explained that this had made him bring up the topic on a call with Reddit. He has also released a transcript of the phone call, and a portion of the audio, as proof of what happened.

(Note: Recording a call if one party consents is legal in Canada.)

It does seem like Selig was joking about Reddit's claims that Apollo had been costing them $20 Million a year, and he had asked the company (jokingly) to pay him $10 Million to make Apollo go quiet. The Reddit representative on the call initially perceived that as a threat, but apologized immediately after Selig said it was a joke, and he was referring to the API calls to quiet down.

However, Reddit seems to have twisted the story to frame him as the villain, they "misunderstood" it as blackmail as if he had said, pay me and I will remain quiet about the issue. This was no doubt done to paint him in a bad light to take the attention away from the rest of the third-party apps that have been raising an uproar on the social network. That's a good corporate move, in fact I wouldn't expect anything otherwise when money is involved.

Reddit's CEO is set to conduct an AMA today to clear the confusion about the latest API updates, accessibility mod bots, and third-party mod tools.

Unfortunately, it may have already caused the damage. Apollo for Reddit is shutting down on June 30th, and it is not the only one.

The developers of Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet have also announced that their apps are shutting down at the end of the month, because they cannot afford to pay what Reddit is asking them.

It is unclear what the future holds for open source apps like RedReader, Infinity for Reader and other apps.

Several subreddits are going dark on June 12th to protest the changes

Thousands of subreddits have announced that they are going dark on June 12th to protest the upcoming changes to Reddit's API pricing and restrictions related to NSFW content. Some communities say their forums will go private, while others will be completely inaccessible for 48 hours, until July 14th. A few subreddits have confirmed that they will shut down indefinitely until Reddit decides to reverse its decision. As it stands, over 2700 subreddits have joined the protests, and many more are signing up every day.

Reddit lives because of its users who make the site what it is, and moderators who volunteer to keep their users safe. They provide their content and discussions for free, while the company pockets its revenue from ads, and by selling Reddit Premium and Coins. If you take away the users, Reddit dies. The protest is to highlight this very thing.

Popular subreddits like aww, gaming, music, pics, todayilearned that have over 30 million users are among the participating communities in the blackout. You can view a list of the subreddits that are joining the fight at r/ModCoord.

It is worth noting that the notes from yesterday's fiasco mentions that Reddit is "open to postponing the API timeline to launch modtooling, if (they) agree to keep their subreddits open. This essentially translates to the protest is working, and Reddit is backing from its stance.

As for alternatives to Reddit, Lemmy, which is a part of the Fediverse (like Mastodon) seems to be a popular alternative among reddit users who are planning to ditch the site. I haven't used it much to recommend it. That's the problem, Reddit is a unique site, it has communities for virtually every topic and genre.

Maybe you can share some good alternative sites with us?

Article Name
Several Reddit clients including Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet are shutting down
Reddit is forcing third party apps to shut down. Apollo, Reddit is Fun, Sync and ReddPlanet are ending support this month.
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  1. Mystique said on June 12, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Having said that recent events concerning services and sites such as youtube, netflix and imgur (to just name three) shows me that people will likely still stay and do nothing about it and support this kind of stupidity.
    I would like to be proven wrong but time will tell I guess.

    Tildes is also a similar service to reddit but remains invite only and has absolutely no app support at this stage as far as I know.

  2. Mystique said on June 11, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    I’d like the full audio recording if possible.
    Regardless though you can’t deny that the Reddit CEO has been deliberately stalling on info from day one and being willfully ignorant about many things.
    I am assuming you mean the Reddit CEO because that is exactly the way I feel about him. I have dealt with people like him before and it as you would expect never works out for the best… maybe the best for them personally but never anyone else.

    Its not even about time anymore. They could have announced this 4 years ago but if you only started talking in the past few weeks then that is what counts. Given the way the conversations seem to go its less than useless and more than frustrating as there appears to be no attempt to truly engage in conversation just a whole lot of stonewalling dictatorship.

    I say if this is the way this clown wants to go about it then fine, he can see how well it goes for him and then maybe when its all said and done he can share a drink and a slice of pie with the former owners of Digg that ended up selling it for half a million dollars whilst at its peak it was valued at $175 million.

    I hope this peasant does a lot worse for himself than half a million.

  3. Anonymous said on June 10, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    The Apollo CEO does talk like he’s a pro con-artist though, and he does not make anything clearer even after being asked several times (always concealing something in sentences, never crystal clear about intention).

    1. Ray said on June 12, 2023 at 12:59 am

      Yeah, that was also my first impression when I heard the audio snippet provided by the Apollo lead dev.

  4. Mystique said on June 10, 2023 at 9:56 am

    As predicted the AMA descended into madness and worse yet they just doubled down on their stance so its pretty much over from this point for Reddit. I could totally see the Admins doing whatever they can apart from what is wanted, expected and needed to stop and reverse the Blackout movement. I just have absolutely no faith or confidence in the entire Reddit team at this point. Very few questions were actually answered.

    All the alternatives have a very long way to go on a technical level to become a complete replacement for Reddit and its going to take a lot of time to build up to that point where it can be a success.
    What will ultimately happen is that the communities will splinter off into different direction and until there becomes a clear winner or dominant successor will we not see the same level of community and acceptance by all.

    Some subs have already decided to go dark and given the AMA I cannot blame them.

    We could all go back to our web forums now. Which is not really a bad thing.

  5. Anonymous said on June 9, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    Sad to see Reddit is Fun on the list. The official Reddit app is total garbage. I think finally going to stop visiting Reddit.

  6. Iron Heart said on June 9, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    @Ashwin @Martin Brinkmann

    In other news, the Invidious developers were contacted by Google’s legal team despite not using YouTube’s official API:

    Seems they want to shut it down, might be worth an article.

    1. Mystique said on June 10, 2023 at 10:02 am

      This is not good… not good at all.
      There will be more of this behaviour to come soon. Maybe it’s time for another mass exodus.

      Youtube has been making a lot of waves lately (a few months ago) doing stupid things like retroactively looking at videos and striking them for rules that were not in place at the time and only put in place in recent times. Stupid!

      Thanks for the heads up on this one @Iron Heart

  7. John G. said on June 9, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Fear is the best weapon ever created, fear to pay millions, I meant.

  8. Mystique said on June 9, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    The way I see it Christian was using tongue and cheek to catch them in their fraudulent numbers that they just plucked out of thin air, if they truly believed those numbers they would be happy to put their money where there mouth is at which point christian would not take it anyway as it was just to prove a point. The fact that they declined and back peddled is telling. Acting ignorant and acting as if the phone cut out was a joke. The conversation took a turn after that.

    Their own app is atrocious and there is nothing that Vanced can do to fix it. It will always be worse than third party apps and that does nothing to address the underlining problems at Reddit really.

    I do not put any credence in this AMA with the CEO either which is just designed to patronize and salvage some control over the situation particularly given the public sentiment and blackout which is due to happen. Some subs have said they are willing to go longer than 48hrs.

    I don’t think there is any redeeming themselves at this point. They have turned upon their user base and it is not in the spirit of what Reddit was designed for. It was not meant to be some sort of facebook, twitter, instagram or any other similar service.

    Digg was abandoned for similar conduct. Admittedly Reddit has garnered a bit more public acceptance and formed many communities within so its a bit harder to shake but never underestimate the will and power of people to change. This is the internet and whilst Lemmy, Raddle, Kbin, Raddi, etc are all attempting to take reddits place it will sadly take time to get to a point where they are to a high standard and some will ultimately fail so its going to take a lot longer for the transition to reach its full potential regardless of which way you go.

    We will definitely have to wait until the dust settles.

  9. Ray said on June 9, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    I think Infinity for Reddit will be fine since it’s FOSS. The main blurb I got from the screenshot is “non-commercial users have API access.” Not sure about rate limit concerns though.

    1. Ray said on June 12, 2023 at 12:57 am

      RedReader is FOSS and is fine as they qualify under the accessibility provision. Infinity is going to try and do the same thing.

    2. Some Dude said on June 10, 2023 at 4:47 am

      Being FOSS has nothing to do with this. If it uses the Reddit Api key, it will be blocked unless they pay.

    3. Yash said on June 9, 2023 at 5:51 pm

      Infinity won’t be fine because Reddit will be charging high amount to access theur api. Not to mention NSFW content will be gone regardless, probably main reason users visit reddit. This is Reddit shooting themselves in foot and every other body part. Their CEO is tone deaf.

  10. Shania said on June 9, 2023 at 11:59 am

    This CEO is the one who edited another user’s comment transparently and when got caught, admitted. I would expect plenty sockpuppet accounts in upcoming AMA to post benign questions which will be answered by him and nothing else.

  11. Anonymous said on June 9, 2023 at 11:55 am

    lmao the dumbass CEO straight up lied to public saying apollo is blackmailing them. Apollo dev had recorded the whole conversation with the admins…

    defamation lawsuit anyone?

    Also, if reddit wants to charge for API access, users should charge for their content also

  12. Sojiro84 said on June 9, 2023 at 11:06 am

    So far seems to be the most popular lemmy instance.

    Haven’t used it enough to have a official verdict, but I do like browsing around there from time to time and has a lot of default sub-categories that I like.

    As for me, Reddit is going bye-bye the moment I can’t use Apollo.

    The official app is pure garbage and the official website with the new redesign is just as bad. Only a matter of time until they also kill off

    As always, corporate greed is here to ruin things we like.

    1. Kirk said on June 10, 2023 at 6:51 am

      Corporate greed knows that it will kill the site in the long run. But by the time Reddit is eclipsed, they would have pocketed their short term profits and moved on. Ironically, the ones in charge of Reddit are the ones who care the least about it.

    2. Iron Heart said on June 9, 2023 at 4:24 pm

      For those who can leave, they should be looking at Lemmy. I would rather make the Leninist developer of Lemmy rich than agreeing to the way Reddit wants me to use their platform, which is awful.

      For those who can’t leave, using the website with uBlock Origin or another adblocker, and patching the official Reddit app with ReVanced Manager will be the best option.

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