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Reddit Brings the Top iOS Reddit App in House

Alien Blue will become the online discussion board's official iOS app.

Reddit has absorbed the app Alien Blue and the developer who created it, Jase Morrissey, making Alien Blue the online discussion board’s official iOS app.

Reddit, for all its Web popularity, has been rather timid on the mobile app front. Meanwhile, Alien Blue became the most popular Reddit mobile app.

“We had an app a few years ago done by an outside contractor, and we didn’t have the resources to maintain it, so it stopped working, and we took it off maybe a year and a half ago,” explained Reddit business development head Ellen Pao in an interview today.

More recently, the company released an “ask me anything” app aimed at new users and people who enjoy its community Q&As with celebrities and other guests.

Pao said Reddit would continue to be committed to third-party Reddit apps. She estimated there are hundreds of them, many focused on just a certain “subreddit” forum, or on viewing images.

Pao said Reddit has helped Morrissey troubleshoot his app for years. He will continue working independently on Reddit projects from Australia, where he lives. That’s in contrast to Reddit’s U.S.-based employees, who were told this month to move to San Francisco to keep their jobs.

Alien Blue will keep its name and its Reddit power-user approach, Pao said. Both the iPhone and iPad versions will become free (Update: Reddit says the iPhone paid upgrade will be reinstated next week).

At this point, many social media sites get half or more of their traffic from mobile, so it’s kind of insane that Reddit hasn’t put more focus on this front. Pao’s explanation: “We never had the resources.”

As for the other obvious question? “We would love to have something on Android, but we need to hire, and it’s been hard to hire in mobile,” Pao said.

Perhaps $50 million in new funding will help.

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