Reddit to begin charging for access to its API

  • Reddit has announced that it will begin charging companies for access to its API.
  • While no pricing has been detailed yet, this restriction is focused solely on companies that scrap Reddit for data.
  • The API will still remain free to developers that build apps that help the community and researchers working on nonprofit projects.

Reddit is set to begin charging companies for accessing its API. This according to a report from The New York Times (paywall), which spoke with CEO Steve Huffman.

It is important to note, however, as TechCrunch points out, that this is not a widespread policy change. Rather it is focusing on companies which scrap Reddit for data to use in creating marketing/advertising profiles or other targeted activities.

As such, Reddit’s API will still remain free to developers aiming to create applications or bots specifically designed to help the users of the platform, as well as researchers working on projects that are not for profit.

Speaking to The New York Times, Huffman explained that companies that scrap Reddit for data, “don’t return any of that value.” Adding that, “It’s a good time for us to tighten things up. We think that’s fair.”

At the time of writing, no official pricing for access to said API has been mentioned, but the platform’s CEO is acutely aware of the value it holds, particularly as it remains in a constant state of flux.

“The Reddit corpus of data is really valuable. More than any other place on the internet, Reddit is a home for authentic conversation. There’s a lot of stuff on the site that you’d only ever say in therapy, or AA, or never at all … But we don’t need to give all of that value to some of the largest companies in the world for free,” he told the publication.

Other than valuing the data it has, no specific reason has been shared as for this change in policy. It is suggested that the move could be aimed at garnering more revenue, as Reddit is reportedly preparing to go public with an offering, so shareholders may be putting a bit more pressure on to make the company look as appealing and profitable as possible.

Looking to the future of the platform, the company has noted its interest in AI, both in identifying such content on its site and in helping moderators with AI-based tools. As such, the revenue it seeks to generate could be put towards those plans.

Either way, things are going to be changing slightly at Reddit, specifically for those companies that look to leverage the data it generates.

[Image – Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash]


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