Twitter’s Own App Threat To Developers

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Twitter’s Own App Threat To Developers

In the past couple of years, several desktop application developers have developed new apps that allow users to access Twitter on their desktop or browser. A number of these apps were monetised even before Twitter itself started displaying ads. The livelihood of these app developers is now being threatened by none other than Twitter itself.

Users can access Twitter through TweetDeck, Seesmic, HootSuite, Twhirl and many other similar applications that were built for PCs as well as Macs. These applications have also been responsible, at least in part, for the growth of Twitter from 48 million tweets per day to 140 million tweets per day over the last year.

While most people would consider this growth to be good, the authorities at Twitter do not seem to think so.

Ryan Sarver, head of API and platform at Twitter, says that they want all Twitter users to be able to access the service in the same way. To enable this, Twitter has developed its own app to allow users to access Twitter from different platforms like the iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and RIM Blackberry.

While this ensures that 90% of their users access Twitter through the official method, there is still a segment of users who use Twitter through unofficial apps. Twitter wants to stop this.

Official reasoning by Twitter for such a move is that if there are too many means to access their service, it leads to inconsistency and confusion among users. It has also been found that some of the client apps violate Twitter’s terms of service and privacy policy. Due to this Twitter has to revoke several API’s and apps every week. They also say that they’d like tweets and actions to be represented in standardised formats, such as ‘follow’, ‘favorites’ etc.

However, many industry insiders believe that the real reason behind such a move is purely monetary. Twitter wants to ensure that they are the ones who reap the benefits of their service, and so they want to ensure that Twitter ads are the only way to advertise on tweets.

At the same time Twitter has clarified that they have no intention of thwarting the development of services such as publisher tools and realtime data signals.

Expectedly, this decision has come under fire from a lot of developers. They too claim that Twitter is doing this to gain control of the service and increase their revenue generation through ads.

In other words, developers feel cheated, as Twitter has taken advantage of their apps and now that their purpose has been served the developers are being shown the door.