Sep 1, 2023
Earlier this year, thousands of Reddit communities and subreddits shut down in protest of huge API changes. This was the Reddit blackout. Reddit’s API has been available for free for a long time.
Users utilized this free API to develop popular third-party apps like Apollo. We’ve even seen OpenAI use Reddit’s API to ingest conversations from the website to help develop their language model.
What were the API changes? Reddit announced they would be charging for access. While charging for their API might not initially seem like the end of the world, it became clear that it would become an issue once developers discovered the cost.
Reddit is charging 24 cents per 1,000 API requests. For apps that are making millions and billions of requests per month, this is not sustainable.
For example, Apollo makes upwards of 7 billion requests every month. If they were to pay for Reddit’s API, they would be charged $2 million every month. This simply isn’t possible for small, third-party apps. Apollo recently shut down.
Reddit isn’t the first social media platform to do this, X (formerly Twitter) made this change earlier this year. Developers are quickly losing access to free APIs, and if this trend continues, the internet might begin to look very different in a few years.
What is API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a set of rules and protocols that allows different software applications to communicate and interact with each other. An API acts as an intermediary that allows different software systems to talk to each other, even if they are built differently.
They are useful because they provide a standardized way for developers to access specific functionality or data from an application without needing to understand the inner workings of the system. APIs are commonly used in web development to allow different web services to interact.
In the case of the Reddit API, developers could get info from Reddit and use that to build their own applications. A developer can build their own app and make it function and look however they want, but then use the Reddit API to bring in subreddit information, posts, comments, and user profiles.
What is the Fallout?
Whether it seems like it or not, the Reddit blackout protests were a big deal. Not only did Reddit’s API adjustment destroy free third-party apps, but it’s stirring up fear across the internet. For much of Reddit to go dark in protest, it means that others across the world feel the same about free API access.
With what has happened with X and Reddit recently, it’s a signal for the end of open API access on the internet. Big tech companies are starting to split out and charge for all of their different services individually.
If your business creates products that rely on open access to software to provide integrations with other services, you may need to adjust your business strategy.
Your Organization Needs IT Project Management Help
Regardless of your company’s current path or future plans, you need the very best IT management support. With all that is happening with APIs, and even increased cyberattacks, you need an expert team on your side.
Blade brings a fresh perspective to your IT processes. We offer project management services to help you handle complex projects from start to finish. It can be especially helpful if your business is pivoting its offerings. Our experienced project management team provides a clear strategy for your IT projects.
Learn More About APIs from Blade Technologies, Inc.
If you want more information about the recent Reddit blackout and APIs, contact the Blade team today so that you’re prepared for the future.