Reddit’s CEO and blind spots

Reddit announcement of changes regarding access to its Data API has generated heated reactions from Reddit’s moderators and some third-app developers.

The Verge published on June 15th an interview with Steve Hoffman, Reddit’s CEO. Reading through the interview makes me wonder if trying to snatch the income from a bunch of third-party independent developers is going to make any significant reduction to Reddit’s monthly losses. It’s not obvious that Reddit will be able to capture part of the income those third-party apps were generating for their developers. (Let’s see how negotiations go with AI companies using Reddit’s data to train their Large Language Models.)

Reddit could have easily bought Apollo—the best third-party Reddit client—and renamed it to become their default mobile app. But Hoffman, as he says in the interview, doesn’t think that Apollo adds any value to Reddit:

[The Verge] I want to stop you for a second there. So you’re saying that Apollo, RIF, Sync, they don’t add value to Reddit?

[Hoffman] Not as much as they take. No way.

If Reddit’s CEO doesn’t see the value Apollo adds to Reddit’s user experience, then he’s probably blind to how bad Reddit’s interface is on both the web and mobile.

Reddit Steve Hoffman

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