I’ll cut to the chase: 50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined.
Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.
I’m deeply disappointed in this price. Reddit iterated that the price would be A) reasonable and based in reality, and B) they would not operate like Twitter. Twitter’s pricing was publicly ridiculed for its obscene price of $42,000 for 50 million tweets. Reddit’s is still $12,000. For reference, I pay Imgur (a site similar to Reddit in user base and media) $166 for the same 50 million API calls.
As for the pricing, despite claims that it would be based in reality, it seems anything but. Less than 2 years ago they said they crossed $100M in quarterly revenue for the first time ever, if we assume despite the economic downturn that they’ve managed to do that every single quarter now, and for your best quarter, you’ve doubled it to $200M. Let’s also be generous and go far, far above industry estimates and say you made another $50M in Reddit Premium subscriptions. That’s $550M in revenue per year, let’s say an even $600M. In 2019, they said they hit 430 million monthly active users, and to also be generous, let’s say they haven’t added a single active user since then (if we do revenue-per-user calculations, the more users, the less revenue each user would contribute). So at generous estimates of $600M and 430M monthly active users, that’s $1.40 per user per year, or $0.12 monthly. These own numbers they’ve given are also seemingly inline with industry estimates as well.
For Apollo, the average user uses 344 requests daily, or 10.6K monthly. With the proposed API pricing, the average user in Apollo would cost $2.50, which is is 20x higher than a generous estimate of what each users brings Reddit in revenue.
While Reddit has been communicative and civil throughout this process with half a dozen phone calls back and forth that I thought went really well, I don’t see how this pricing is anything based in reality or remotely reasonable. I hope it goes without saying that I don’t have that kind of money or would even know how to charge it to a credit card.
This is going to require some thinking. I asked Reddit if they were flexible on this pricing or not, and they stated that it’s their understanding that no, this will be the pricing, and I’m free to post the details of the call if I wish.
(For the uninitiated wondering “what the heck is an API anyway and why is this so important?” it’s just a fancy term for a way to access a site’s information (“Application Programming Interface”). As an analogy, think of Reddit having a bouncer, and since day one that bouncer has been friendly, where if you ask “Hey, can you list out the comments for me for post X?” the bouncer would happily respond with what you requested, provided you didn’t ask so often that it was silly. That’s the Reddit API: I ask Reddit/the bouncer for some data, and it provides it so I can display it in my app for users. The proposed changes mean the bouncer will still exist, but now ask an exorbitant amount per question.)