Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘API’

Reddit’s API Pricing

Apollo on iPad

I’m going to share, what I expect to be, a controversial opinion about the new API pricing from Reddit. Not because I’m some big fan of Reddit — I follow a single subreddit through RSS and only do so because that same information isn’t easily digestible from anywhere else.

I would prefer that everyone leave Reddit and move to the open web for distributed, open source, community-run alternatives. We’ve allowed the current crop of social media companies to overstay their welcome. We should have all moved on from Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the bunch years ago.

But — brace yourself — I don’t think Reddit’s new API pricing is catastrophic for the third-party app ecosystem.

We can quibble about whether or not developers need to pay their “fair share” and what exactly “fair” would be in this context, but it seems to me that you can still build a third-party Reddit client that is economically feasible with this new pricing. But these third-party developers would need to charge more than they currently do.

We’ll look at Apollo here since that’s the app I’m most familiar with and the one that’s received the most attention throughout this within my circle.

Christian Selig, writing on Reddit about the API pricing:

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.

Based on the $20 million per year in API fees number and the average per user per month cost of $2.50, that puts Apollo at about 666,000 active users.

How much was Apollo charging for the app, you may ask? According to Juli Clover at MacRumors:

Right now, Apollo Pro is a one-time $4.99 fee that unlocks additional features, and Apollo Ultra is an even more premium tier that costs $12.99 per year.

I’m not a fan of subscription pricing, generally, but this seems criminally underpriced for what the app is providing. It’s a far better experience than what you get from Reddit themselves and a significant discount compared to Reddit Premium — which is $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year.

So what if Apollo charged $6 per month — the same as Reddit Premium? Taking out $2.50 for Reddit’s cut and about $1.80 for Apple’s, that would give Apollo about $1.70 per user per month.

If every existing user paid, that would be about $1.1 million per month in earnings after Apple and Reddit’s cut.

If only a third of those users paid, that would be over $350,000 per month.

I don’t know what the operating costs are for Apollo and, in an ideal world, perhaps Reddit’s fees are a bit higher than they should be. But my back of the napkin math tells me that it’s totally feasible to develop a third-party Reddit app and make enough money from it for a small team to earn a reasonable living.

But to do so, Reddit’s essentially forcing third-party developers to charge at least as much per month as Reddit’s own premium subscription. From Reddit’s perspective, this makes total sense. Why would they want third-party apps to provide a better experience at a lower cost than Reddit’s own offering?

Now this isn’t to say that third-party developers should just put on their big boy pants, pay the new fees, and end the boycotts. By all means, continue with the boycotts, try to convince Reddit to lower their API fees as much as possible, and move as many communities to the open web as you can.

But don’t say that the new pricing makes it impossible to build a third-party app. Because that’s not true. It would just require pricing apps so they’re more in-line with Reddit’s own offering.

Twitter Announces New API That Opens More Features to Third-Party Apps ➝

Filipe Espósito, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

Twitter is announcing its new Twitter API v2, which was completely rebuilt with new features. One of the highlights of the new Twitter API is the real-time tweets stream — one of the options removed in the past. Third-party apps can once again load new tweets as they’re published and not just after a period of time.

Other changes to the API include conversation threading, polls, pinned tweets, better spam filter, and advanced search. The Twitter v2 API will be available on three different levels: Standard, Academic Research, and Business.

I hope this will bring about a resurgence in third-party Twitter apps. I think many of the problems on Twitter and the dread that one feels when reading their timeline could be mitigated, if not solved, with just a bit more creative thinking. The type of creative thinking that isn’t limited by the goals and priorities of Twitter itself.

➝ Source: 9to5mac.com

After the API Changes

In light of recent events regarding third-party clients, I’ve had to make some changes to the way I interact with Twitter. I’ve been a diehard Tweetbot user for years and its going to take a bit more than some relatively minor API changes to get me to switch to Twitter’s first-party client. But I’m not able to use Tweetbot in the same way that I used to — push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and the like are no longer functional.

The folks behind Twitterrific have been encouraging users to enable notifications in the official Twitter app and to launch Twitterrific whenever they just want to browse their timeline. This isn’t a terrible solution, but I’d rather interact with the Twitter app as little as possible. That left me to revert back to the original third-party Twitter client — SMS.

Surprisingly, the good old 40404 shortcode continues to work. And although the increased character count causes some occasional truncation, its still a better experience then launching the Twitter app, which I find to be an abhorrent piece of software. The setup is quite simple, assuming you already have your phone number associated with your Twitter account. Just enable the notifications you want to receive from the mobile settings page on Twitter.com, which is only visible on the desktop version of the site.

Twitter Mobile Notification Settings

I have it set to send me an SMS message whenever I receive a direct message, someone follows me, and when a tweet is liked or retweeted. I’m still using Tweetbot’s notifications for mentions and replies. It’s a bummer that they’re a little delayed compared to the official Twitter client or SMS, but I frequently interact with these notifications and I’d rather them launch my preferred Twitter client when tapped.

It’s also notable that I’ve added the 40404 shortcode to my contacts, added Twitter’s logo, and changed its text message tone to iOS’ built-in Tweet sound. It may sound silly, but it does add quite a lot to the experience.

This setup gives me all of the notifications I’m accustomed to, but there’s still the matter of Tweetbot’s activity panel, which was also removed when the API changed. I always kept the Activity panel open next to my timeline on iPad because it helped reduce the line length of tweets and gave me something nice to glance at in the sidebar.

Tweetbot with Sidefari

The solution I’ve come to utilizes Sidefari in Split View to display the notification tab on Twitter’s mobile site. This gives me all of the glanceable data I’m used to and forces Tweetbot’s timeline to have sensible line length. I’ll occasionally be prompted to sign back into Twitter in Sidefari, but its a small price to pay in order to continue using the best Twitter client ever made.

Twitter Rolls Out Full-Archive Search API ➝

Adam Tornes, writing on the Twitter weblog:

The Full-Archive Search API combines the best aspects of two of Gnip’s most popular offerings to solve enterprise business needs with user experiences not previously possible. By pairing instant accessibility with the full archive of historical Tweets, we’ve created a new premium solution for our ecosystem of partners to deliver historical social data to their own clients.

Opening the Instapaper API ➝

From the Instapaper weblog:

At that time, there were concerns that a full Instapaper API would result in free, native iOS apps that could be used to replace Instapaper, and thereby cannibalize sales of the Instapaper iOS app (the Android app was still a year away at this point). Instapaper’s iOS app has been free since last September and, with all of the great additions we’ve made to our Premium offerings, we don’t see any reason to continue restricting API access for non-subscribers.

New Twitter API Drops Support for RSS ➝

So, I guess this means that the RSS feed of my Twitter favorites is no longer available. I’m going to have to find a new way to siphon links in my timeline into my RSS reader.

Fever API Public Beta ➝

Last week Fever was updated to version 1.14 and with it came the introduction of an API. The API is currently in public beta and supports basic syncing and consuming of content. A future update will allow for adding, editing, and deleting feeds and groups.

I’m incredibly glad that Fever’s developer, Shaun Inman, has decided to build an API for Fever. I quit using Google Reader last summer and have only looked back briefly (simply to test out Reeder). I enjoy using Fever and specifically hope that the developer of Reeder decides to support it in the near future.

I know of one developer who is already working on an app that makes use of Fever’s API. James Finley is working with a friend on an application for the iPad called “Ashes.” He’s published a few teaser images of the app on his Dribbble account and it looks great. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.