Twitter has done what we all assumed they would do, and announced a rather severe API lockdown.
In short, they’re putting limits on the growth of 3rd party clients, and crippling them with a severe limit to the number of requests a user can make. Twitter has essentially declared war on Tweetbot, Echofon, and others.
In short, Twitter has decided they need to control the consumer experience. This would be a reasonable approach, if it didn’t spit in the face of how Twitter became a powerhouse platform.
Twitter is what it is, because of mobile users. And until 2010, Twitter didn’t have a compelling mobile experience that they owned. Twitter built it’d brand and audience as the mobile, global information network, on the creations of 3rd party developers.
Twitter MATTERS because of the very people they are screwing over. This cannot be overstated. I have a lot of trouble believing twitter would exist in the form it does, if there had been no 3rd party clients.
At the same time, Twitter is trying to develop a profitable ad business, and they need to create a situation where they own the experience, rather than the data.
Rock. Hard place. Etc.
So, I knew this would happen, eventually. When friends of mine were building iOS Twitter clients in 2010, I remember asking if they felt it was stable to build on two platforms at once, one owned by a company with no business model, and one owned by a company that can be the most restrictive in the world, when it comes to playing in the OS sandbox.
But the reason people built on Twitter was two-fold; one, it was a company that seemed focused on reaching out to devs and listening to users - this is how functions like RT and @mention came into existence. And two, Twitter was SO DAMNED COMPELLING. It was like nothing else. Simplicity and complexity brilliantly woven together. A truly great idea.
But, that’s not what it is anymore. Twitter is aiming to be a media company. To put the walls around a wild and beautiful garden.
This is why, this morning, I signed up for app.net. You should consider it too. $50 per year doesn’t seem too unreasonable for a trustworthy asymmetrical messaging playground with a strong developer focus. I do think it would succeed a hell of a lot better at $25 per year, or even $2 per month. But it’s worth checking out at join.app.net.