Facing Reddit’s Exorbitant API Pricing, Christian Selig Is Shutting Down Apollo

Christian Selig, writing in r/apolloapp:

Eight years ago, I posted in the Apple subreddit about a Reddit app I was looking for beta testers for, and my life completely changed that day. I just finished university and an internship at Apple, and wanted to build a Reddit client of my own: a premier, customizable, well-designed Reddit app for iPhone. This fortunately resonated with people immediately, and it’s been my full time job ever since.

Today’s a much sadder post than that initial one eight years ago. June 30th will be Apollo’s last day.

I’ve talked to a lot of people, and come to terms with this over the last weeks as talks with Reddit have deteriorated to an ugly point, and in the interest of transparency with the community, I wanted to talk about how I arrived at this decision, and if you have any questions at the end, I’m more than happy to answer. This post will be long as I have a lot of topics to cover.

Please note that I recorded all my calls with Reddit, so my statements are not based on memory, but the recorded statements by Reddit over the course of the year. One-party consent recording is legal in my country of Canada. Also I won’t be naming names, that’s not important and I don’t want to doxx people.

Given what we knew about Reddit’s stance on this API pricing a week ago, this isn’t surprising, but it still feels tragic. Apollo — like Tweetbot and Twitterrific before it — isn’t merely a nice client for a particular service. It’s one of the best apps ever made, full stop.

Let’s stop attributing this shutdown to “Reddit” the company, though, and pin responsibility where it truly lies: on Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman, personally. When Twitter killed third-party clients everyone naturally and correctly pinned responsibility on Elon Musk, because Musk is very famous and very much public in his stewardship of Twitter now that he owns it.

I’ll bet many of you reading this, even Reddit users, couldn’t recall Reddit’s CEO’s name before I named Huffman above. But it’s clear from Selig’s description — and his receipts, as it were — that Huffman is intimately involved in this decision, and is not only responsible, but is actively besmirching Selig with provably false accusations of both extortion and shoddy engineering.

Reddit didn’t kill Apollo. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman did.

Let’s see if Huffman has the courage to go through with this planned AMA today to discuss Reddit’s API policy changes. I have one simple question for him: What do you think Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz would say about this if he were still alive?

Friday, 9 June 2023