Reddit’s third-party app, Apollo has gained immense popularity with Redditors over the years, due to its easy accessibility and streamlined design. But the Apollo-Reddit API dispute triggered the Apollo app’s closure on June 30th.
Reddit’s app shutdown is attributable to the platform’s announcement to charge exorbitant fees to third-party developers, such as Apollo, for API access. According to Apollo Developer Christian Selig, Reddit’s API dispute has cemented Apollo’s shut down for good by the end of this month.
“To avoid incurring charges, I will delete Apollo’s API token on the eve of June 30th.”
Selig had been trying to excogitate any means to keep his app alive, in spite of the enormous novel charges for connecting to Reddit’s API. But he has given up. Apollo will continue to perform as seamlessly as it has, but by the end of D-day, any attempt to connect with Reddit’s API is bound to fail.
Apollo will close down on June 30th. Reddit’s recent decisions and actions have unfortunately made it impossible for Apollo to continue. Thank you so, so much for all the support over the years. ❤️ https://t.co/HOJaLMW8fx
— Christian Selig (@ChristianSelig) June 8, 2023
Apollo-Reddit’s API Dispute Will Affect Apollo More But Rub Redditors Wrongly
When Reddit had hinted at looking to start charging earlier this year, Selig and many other developers paid little to no heed. The platform was moving to a paid API model to rein in the purport of AI language training, which beleaguered Reddit’s systems without an ounce of improvement to Redditor’s user experiences.
According to Data.ai, Apollo for Reddit has harkened 5 million downloads, globally with nearly 900,000 daily active users. If the Apollo app shutdowns, Reddit may lose out on a substantial amount of audience as many Redditors had stated that they would refrain from using the platform unless they could experience it through the lens of Apollo.
So Reddit’s claim of third-party apps weighing heavily on the platform without enhancing users’ experience turned out fallacious and apps like Apollo are being affected.
Last week, Selig spilled the beans on the Apollo Reddit’s API dispute in light of Reddit’s decision to start charging third-party developers. Even after innumerable back-and-forths, Reddit did not budge from its decision, the consequence of which Apollo will face – the new API model would cost the solo developer $20 million per year.
And as per Selig, these charges, the API cost per user will cost Apollo more than what Apollo for Reddit users paid for the premium. While Reddit’s API subscription plan is based on a pay-per-use model, Apollo will be unable to find a feasible way forward with the strict 30-day deadline that Reddit has devised before shifting to the paid API plans.
Reddit App Shutdown Negotiation Controversy
When the Apollo Reddit app’s shutdown on June 30th was announced after Selig went public with the negotiations, some belligerence from Reddit’s side became apparent. Reddit was seen showing unwarranted hostility to its most popular third-party developer, just for candor.
After Selig unfolded the situation at the beginning of the month, a Reddit employee publicly reprobated Apollo, alleging that the third-party app was ‘inefficient’ with its API requests, and the reason why it would cost Selig $20 million solo.
Other third-party Reddit developers came in defense of Selig and disputed the claims of inefficiency.
Shortly after this debacle, Selig shared the most insane allegation that Reddit placed on him, which could potentially be defamatory. Selig said that employees and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman alleged that Selig had attempted to blackmail the company by threatening to go public with API issues unless Reddit paid him $10 million.
In his defense, Selig had evidence to prove these claims were ‘misinterpreted’. He had by chance recorded the call when the conversation took place and shared the purported transcript on Thursday.
From the call recording, it was clarified that Selig was offering to sell his app to Reddit for half of what the platform was claiming that Apollo costs them in API requests, jokingly.
After this revelation, Reddit issued an apology to Selig for misunderstanding his words. But even after this drama, some Reddit moderators released a transcript of a call that the CEO Huffman had with them, claiming that Selig tried to ‘blackmail’ them to stay quiet.
Reddit planned its own response to the API controversy surrounding Apollo’s shutdown, including an AMA with CEO Huffman. Selig posted a tweet answering all the questions that poured his way, following the AMA.
Apollo Reddit App Shut Down On June 30th: What Next?
Just earlier this week, an Apollo for Reddit featured app was announced during Apple’s eminent WWDC 2023 event. Apollo was displayed as one of the compatible apps of Apple Vision Pro, the product which wouldn’t be available publicly at least until after Apollo shuts down.
👀 Apollo with visionOS maybe? pic.twitter.com/EMjDQS7qZW
— Christian Selig (@ChristianSelig) June 5, 2023
Selig apologized for not being able to manifest Apollo for Apple’s Vision Pro.
Based on Apollo-Reddit’s API dispute, Apollo will be shutting down on June 30th, but the broader Redditor community has not given up. Nearly 3,100 subreddit communities including some of the platform’s largest ones will be partaking in a protest. They have planned to protest Reddit’s API changes – by ‘going dark’ and shutting down temporarily for 48 hours from June 12.