In a surprising twist to the ongoing controversy surrounding Reddit’s API pricing changes, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, also known as u/spez, held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session where he reiterated his accusations against the developer of the popular third-party app Apollo. The company had previously accused the developer, Christian Selig, of inefficiency and not being a good API user.
Despite facing intense backlash from the Reddit community, including a widespread protest from numerous subreddits, Huffman stood firm on the decision to proceed with the API changes and showed no intention of reconsidering. Furthermore, he continued to criticize Selig’s “behavior and communications,” describing them as inconsistent and expressing reluctance to collaborate with the developer in the future.
Selig had been one of the first to bring attention to the fact that Reddit’s new API pricing would render the operation of the Apollo app financially unviable. He revealed that the revised terms would cost him a staggering $20 million annually, far exceeding the app’s revenue. Consequently, Selig announced that Apollo’s final day of operation would be June 30, just before the new API pricing takes effect on July 1.
Amid third-party apps shutting down due to Reddit’s API pricing changes, notable apps like Sync, RIF, and Reddplant also call it quits. However, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman appears to have a particular bone to pick with developer Christian Selig, initially accusing him of extortion based on Selig’s detailed post regarding the situation between him and Reddit.
Selig’s Humorous Remark Met with Misinterpretation and Huffman’s Firm Criticism
It seems that Huffman’s focus and criticism are primarily directed toward Selig despite other app developers being affected by the API changes. The tensions between Reddit and Selig continue to escalate amidst the ongoing controversy.
Instead of attempting to comprehend why Reddit would make a decision that undoubtedly results in widespread discontent among its user base, Christian Selig, the developer of Apollo, was genuinely seeking an explanation.
During a call with a Reddit representative, Selig’s comment about receiving a payment to end the app’s operations was initially interpreted as a “threat.” However, the misunderstanding was promptly resolved, and the representative apologized. It is worth noting that Selig recorded the conversation, as it is legal in his location in Canada.
However, during a subsequent call with moderators, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman referred to Selig’s conversation as a “threat” against Reddit. This perspective has not softened on Reddit’s side, as Huffman reiterated during the AMA session.
When asked to clarify the accusations made against Selig, Huffman departed from typical corporate PR language and responded bluntly. He stated that Selig’s “joke” was the least of their concerns, emphasizing the erratic nature of Selig’s behavior and communication. Huffman highlighted instances where Selig provided contradictory statements internally versus externally and his act of recording and leaking a private phone call. As a result, Huffman expressed doubts about the feasibility of engaging in further business with Selig.
This unexpected turn of events is particularly unfortunate for Apollo, a well-designed iOS-first app that recently garnered attention during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Sadly, Apollo’s future is now jeopardized due to Reddit’s upcoming API policy changes. After this controversy, several well-known developers stepped forward to express their support for Christian Selig.
The outpouring of Developer Support for Selig and Dissatisfaction with the Response on Reddit
Sebastiaan de With, the co-founder of Halide, took to Twitter on Thursday to defend Selig, referring to him as “one of the nicest guys in our indie app world.” De With boldly accused Reddit management of spreading falsehoods, engaging in slander, and vilifying Selig. Many others echoed his sentiments by quote-tweeting and expressing their agreement.
The show of solidarity from prominent developers highlights the perception that Selig has been unjustly targeted and reinforces the belief that he enjoys a strong reputation within the indie app community.
During the AMA session, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed the impact of the API pricing changes on various third-party apps. Huffman mentioned that apps like Apollo, Reddit is Fun, and Sync had decided to close down due to the pricing structure. However, he stated that Reddit was open to continuing discussions with other app developers willing to work with them, acknowledging the tight timeline.
In the comments section, Tony Lupeski, the developer of ReddPlanet, disputed Huffman’s statement, calling it a “blatant lie.” Lupeski claimed that he had made multiple attempts to contact Reddit regarding the changes but had been ignored. Another indie app developer shared their frustration, stating that they had submitted a request for Enterprise API access three times without receiving any response.
Regarding the rest of the AMA, there were no significant revelations beyond what Reddit had disclosed. The company remained unmoved by the community backlash and had no plans to delay or reconsider the API changes. Reddit would still make exceptions for a few accessibility-focused apps.