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Reddit Client Apollo to Shut Down on 30 June 2023

On Reddit, Apollo developer Christian Selig writes:

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.

I seldom frequent Reddit, but I downloaded the Reddit client Apollo last September to check out its Pixel Pal hack that sends a digital critter walking around on my iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island—look closely at the screenshots below. But Apollo is a fine app, and I was sad to read developer Christian Selig’s drama-filled tale of how Reddit’s surprise introduction of exorbitantly high prices has caused him to shut the app down. I’m even less inclined to use Reddit now. 

Apollo closing down

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Comments About Reddit Client Apollo to Shut Down on 30 June 2023

Notable Replies

  1. I’m fairly active in a handful of Reddit communities, and all of the third-party Reddit app developers are facing the same decision. Most are choosing to just end it, like Selig is. And honestly, the way Reddit is handling the issue, I don’t blame them one bit.

    A growing number of subreddits have pledged to go dark/private next week, starting Monday June 12, as a show of solidarity against Reddit’s new API policies. Some are doing just the one day, some a couple of days, others a full week, and a few have pledged to stay dark until Reddit reverses the changes (including but not limited to the ridiculous new fees for API access, as well as making all NSFW content completely inaccessible outside of Reddit’s own website and app, which will make it impossible for moderators to properly screen out such content from their subs, as the Reddit app and website are almost anti-optimized for moderation tasks).

    I don’t really expect Reddit to back down—they’re following the Elon Musk/Twitter model of “break everything, and those who stick around will worship you”. The subreddit r/RedditAlternatives has been seeing a lot of traffic in the past few days, and I expect several communities to abandon Reddit entirely and move to one or more of these alternatives.

    Me, I still miss the heyday of Usenet, when no profit-oriented corporation could control the platform because it was completely decentralized and distributed. If Reddit were an open-source, user-managed system, it could be that way too, but that possibility died a long time ago.

  2. I’ve been a big Redditor (by my own jaundiced standards!) meaning I find it hugely valuable and I post and comment and offer considered thinking, often finding highly useful real world guidance, much like I do here!

    I have really only used Apollo for most of my 10+ year Reddit usage because it’s just beautiful. It made the terrible Reddit mobile interface actually functional and enabled graceful interaction, both consumption and contribution, in a way that the “official” Reddit mobile app simply doesn’t even bother to try.

    I am absolutely sure that Christian Selig has made lots of money providing this better interface; there are those who resent this. I don’t. Apollo gave a huge and committed group of content providers to Reddit who imnsho would not have been so committed or contributed so much considered content using the awful Reddit client.

    Reddit eyes its IPO; the CEO and team believe that the IPO will benefit from removing 3rd party apps but they are wrong: flipping off dedicated users without real effort to keep them is a stupid business decision. Reddit gave devs 30 days to figure out a way to manage geometrically enormous price increases: from free (yes, untenable) to usurious (yes, untenable as well.)

    It did not need to be this way. Reddit could have engaged with devs, given a non-Elon timeline for API cost imposition and actually made it possible for a continuing business model to thrive for 3rd party developers and their apps and users. They chose not to for their own reasons and this is fundamentally a loss because many users, like me, will just largely disengage from Reddit – a loss for us and for real world content and engagement.

    I was happy to pay for Apollo because it just worked beautifully; I’d pay a monthly greater amount to have it back. Reddit has shown that they never will make a mobile app that I would be willing to pay for. Had there been a good-faith effort on the part of Reddit to collaborate on a business model of mutual benefit, third party apps could have continued to thrive for the benefit of all.

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