It’s been a contentious journey, but Reddit’s new API pricing will take effect on July 1. What started as a fight over creating an affordable option for valued third-party Reddit apps has evolved into a bitter battle pitting Reddit against indignant developers, mods, and users. Protests remain, but some users are now preparing to exit the platform, including some of Reddit’s most seasoned moderators.
Where does that leave third-party developers, some of which said they would have to pay Reddit $20 million annually to continue? Ars Technica spoke with developers to learn where their apps stand, how some will manage to stay afloat, and what Reddit’s changes mean for the future.
When Reddit announced that, starting on July 1, it would no longer permit free API access except for certain non-commercial apps, many Reddit app developers responded by telling users that they were unsure if they could keep the apps running. Now that the new API pricing ($12,000 per 50 million API requests) is set to be reality, here’s a look at 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 isn’t confirmed yet, but developer Ricker Harrison told Ars he hopes the updated app will be ready to ship within the next one to two months, after he gets more data on API usage. He’s considering a base subscription fee with a certain number of API calls, allowing users to buy more if needed.
I asked Harrison if he can afford to keep the original Narwhal available ahead of Narwhal 2’s release, but the dev said he couldn’t say currently “due to an NDA.”
“I’m just trying to be open-minded about it right now,” he said of the current situation. “Instead of just shutting down completely, I at least want to give it a shot… Even if I’m the only person who uses Narwhal 2, then I’d still rather it exists.”
The dev said that Narwhal has made a “very small amount of money over time” with ads. Reddit’s new rules don’t allow third-party apps with ads.
Infinity for Reddit
Infinity for Reddit plans to be available sometime after July 1 as a subscription.
“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 cannot afford it before I finish the update, I will just change the key, and that means Infinity will not be usable until the update is available.”
The price hasn’t been finalized, but $3 a month is under consideration. Ning said he’s “not trying to make money” off the app, which doesn’t have ads.
Contrary to some of the discussions that devs claimed they had with Reddit, Reddit was accommodating in discussions with Infinity over “several calls,” where the company provided API usage insights, according to Ning.