Popular Reddit App Narwhal Makes a Comeback with Subscription Service
After a recent battle between third-party app developers and Reddit management, which led to a site-wide protest, many apps were forced out of business due to Reddit’s API-related price increases. However, one app called Narwhal is making an attempt at a comeback. The company announced this week that it will offer a subscription-based version of its app for $3.99 per month, promising users an ad-free and privacy-focused experience.
Subscription Pricing and Additional Features
The new Narwhal app will also include a Tip Jar feature, allowing users to donate and support the app beyond the subscription fees while funding further development work. Although not available initially, the developer Rick Harrison (u/det0ur on Reddit) is considering adding a small additional fee of around $1 per month. This fee would enable users to check their notifications and messages as well.
An Experiment in Pricing
The relatively conservative pricing for the subscriptions is currently seen as an experiment because as Narwhal’s user base grows, the API fees may increase, potentially causing financial strain. Due to the monthly costs incurred by Narwhal from using Reddit’s API, there won’t be options for lifetime unlocks or annual payment plans. In turn, this allows the app to offer a subscription on its website for 30% less since there wouldn’t be an Apple cut involved.
Narwhal’s Potential Challenges and Competition
The success of Narwhal’s own venture into providing an ad-free third-party app business depends on gaining a critical mass of subscribers to cover expenses. How Reddit itself will respond to this attempt remains uncertain, as the company’s recent actions suggest a focus on maximizing revenues at the expense of the development community. In response to concerns, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman stated that their priority is profit until it arrives and that they are currently not profitable.
Narwhal Features and Latest Updates
Narwhal has been a popular choice among users due to its customization options, allowing them to personalize swipe controls, fonts, colors, themes, and more. The app also offers features like a native video player, fast media loading, device sync, and other functionalities. A new version of Narwhal was recently released, introducing additional customizations and a user survey regarding subscriptions, along with various bug fixes. The finalized subscription plan was then announced by the developer on Monday.
Alternative Approaches from Other Reddit Apps
Narwhal isn’t the only third-party Reddit client trying to stay in business despite changes to Reddit’s API pricing. Another app called Relay has introduced a multi-tier subscription plan where users must choose one of six price points, each limiting the number of API calls allowed. However, Narwhal’s developer feels that such monitoring of usage is inconvenient for users.
Download Available Now
The latest version of Narwhal (Narwhal 2) can be downloaded from the App Store. While the Tip Jar feature is already included, the subscription service will be rolling out within the next week or two.