It’s been a contentious journey, but Reddit’s new API pricing goes into effect July 1. What started as a battle to create an affordable option for prized third-party Reddit apps has turned into a bitter battle pitting Reddit against outraged developers, mods, and users. Protests continue, but some users are now preparing to leave the platform, including some of Reddit’s most veteran moderators.
Where are third-party developers, some of whom said they would have to pay Reddit $20 million annually to keep going? Ars Technica spoke to developers to find out where their apps stand, how some are surviving, and what Reddit’s changes mean for the future.
When Reddit announced it would no longer allow free API access except for certain non-commercial apps starting July 1, many Reddit app developers responded by telling users they weren’t sure they could keep the apps running . As the new API pricing ($12,000 per 50 million API requests) becomes a reality, here’s a rundown of the most popular apps that will still be available.
Narwhal for Reddit
A new version of the Narwhal for Reddit app, Narwhal 2, will be available as a subscription. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but developer Rick Harrison told Ars he hopes the updated app will be ready to ship within one to two months after receiving more data on API usage. He is considering a basic subscription rate with a certain number of API calls, so users can buy more if needed.
I asked Harrison if he can afford to keep the original Narwhal available before Narwhal 2 comes out, but the developer said he couldn’t say “due to an NDA” at this point.
“I’m just trying to be open-minded about it now,” he said of the current situation. “Instead of just shutting it down completely, I want to at least give it a chance… Even if I’m the only person using Narwhal 2, I’d still rather it existed.”
The developer said Narwhal has made “very little money” from advertising over time. Reddit’s new rules don’t allow third-party apps with ads.
Infinity for Reddit
Infinity for Reddit plans to be available as a subscription sometime after July 1.
“I need to change the API key since Infinity is open source and the key is visible on the repo,” developer Alex Ning told Ars. “If I can’t afford it before I complete the update, I’ll just change the key, and that means Infinity won’t be usable until the update is available.”
The price is not yet finalized, but $3 per month is being considered. Ning said he is “not trying to make money” from the app, which has no ads.
Unlike some of the discussions developers claimed to have had with Reddit, Reddit was accommodating in discussions with Infinity about “multiple conversations,” where the company provided API usage insights, according to Ning.