So, apparently, just like Twitter, Reddit is entering into a “kill-third-party-apps” by charging an enormous amount of money to use their APIs. It looks like it. Apollo isn’t happy, and for good reasons. Unless there was a calculation error from the makers of Apollo, it just makes no sense for them to continue. Maybe Reddit made some calculation errors, too. Perhaps they fail to read the room’s temperature. But maybe they are entitled, to some degree, I guess, to charge for their APIs, right?
I’m tempted to make a parallel with Apple’s dreaded 15%-30% App Store commission. Is Apple’s stance on its App Store different from Reddit’s stance on its APIs? Is charging a commission to be on the App Store and take advantage of all Apple’s technology to get a chance to be distributed on hundreds of millions of iPhones similar to consuming a platform APIs? If not, what is different, actually? Is free API usage a dead end in today’s world? There are whole business models built around APIs these days. API speaks intellectual property in my book. Only companies with business models supported by massive ad distribution or expansive paid subscriptions can think of thriving by giving away their API access. It will be interesting to see how Reddit is reacting to third-party developers’ pushback.
Oh, and if they actually kill the third-party Reddit client ecosystem, unlike Twitter, Reddit platform alternatives are not obvious to me.
I guess it’s time to remember: there is no such thing as a free lunch.