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Reddit’s CEO assures employees that the API pricing protests haven’t hurt revenue

There are approximately 8,500 private or read-only subreddits at the moment to protest Reddit’s upcoming API price hike. The protest started on June 12th, crashed Reddit for three hours, and is set to continue through June 14th. also Worry, though, hasn’t hurt Reddit’s pockets just yet.

According to The Verge (where you can view the full memo), Huffman sent the memo to staff on Monday afternoon. It starts with a note of “challenge” from the Reddit API pricing protest.

“We expect a lot [the subreddits] He will be back on Wednesday, as many have said. While we knew this was about to happen, it was a challenge and with that stopped working for us,” the note reads. [Reddit’s nickname for employees] We are working around the clock, adapting to infrastructure pressures, engaging communities, and responding to the myriad of issues related to this blackout.”

All this will pass

Then, the memo appears to aim to assuage employee concerns or concerns about the protests by portraying the blackout as a temporary event that has not yet affected Reddit’s finances:

We haven’t seen any significant impact on revenue yet and we’ll continue to monitor.

There is a lot of noise with this. Among the noisiest we’ve seen. Please know that our teams are working on this, and like all bombings on Reddit, this one too will pass.

Some subreddits have said they will go dark indefinitely. As of this writing, 8,444 subreddits have protested, according to Reddark Counter, which says 8,838 subreddits have pledged to join.

Similar to how Twitter was snubbed when it raised the price of its API in February, Reddit has been accused of corporate greed for suddenly seeking to charge exorbitant fees for what some argue are outrageous amounts for something that was previously free.

For its part, Reddit hasn’t been shy about wanting to make money, especially considering that many popular third-party Reddit apps don’t serve Reddit ads, which is their biggest source of income.

“Reddit needs to be paid fairly to continue to support high-usage third-party apps. Our pricing is based on usage levels that we measure to be comparable to our own costs,” Reddit spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt said in a statement to Bloomberg on June 6.

Reddit’s IPO news has drawn more attention during this scene, with The Information reporting in February that Reddit is aiming to go public in 2023. In addition, there is a sense that Reddit is seeking greater control over its platform.

Hoffman’s memo reportedly said that the long-term solution to the challenges created by the protests is to improve Reddit and pointed to “some important modified versions that we need to work around.”

Reddit recently began allowing NSFW image uploads on its desktop app, but will remove NSFW content from third-party apps through its API changes, attributing the move to regulatory concerns. Reddit has also refrained from offering any compromise that could result in lower API fees for developers who run Reddit ads.

Moreover, Reddit showed interest in increasing usage of its apps when it experimented with blocking access to a logged-in phone browser earlier this year.

community consequences

Reddit may not have seen any financial consequences yet. But the announced API fee, which revealed that those fees would cost them $20 million a year for a third-party app, and the backlash from developers, users, and other moderators rocked the Reddit community. It’s hard to quantify this effect, but the sense of community is why some people visit Reddit in the first place.

Hoffman’s note said, according to The Verge:

I’m sorry to say this, but please be careful about wearing your Reddit gear in public. Some people are really upset, and we don’t want you to be the target of their frustrations.

In an active Q&A on Friday, someone asked Hoffman if he worried “that Reddit is becoming increasingly profit-driven and less focused on community engagement,” and his response didn’t promote a sense of community either.

“We’re going to keep making profits until profits come in. Unlike some 3P apps, we don’t profit,” Hoffman said.

In a note Monday, Hoffman reportedly mentioned the planned shutdown of Apollo, Reddit Is Fan, “and a couple more,” and said, “We’re still in conversation with some others.”

As some might expect, the protests have so far brought no sign of Reddit’s reliance on API pricing. However, the company has made exceptions for apps that focus on accessibility.

“In this whole story, I don’t think I’ve seen Reddit offer to give an inch on any of the things,” Apollo developer Christian Selig told The Vergecast podcast this week.

Advance Publications, which owns Ars Technica’s parent company Condé Nast, is Reddit’s largest shareholder.



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