People Who Make Twitter Clients Need To Stop And Find Another Business

Twitter just announced a bunch of changes to the systems developers depend on to create apps based on the real-time information service.

There’s a lot of detailed changes to the API, or application programming interface. But the big picture is summed up in one chart:

Twitter API chart

Photo: Twitter

If you’re in the upper-right quadrant, you’re probably in trouble. That’s because Twitter no longer wants apps and websites to use Twitter’s content to create experiences where consumers primarily read tweets. One prominent example: LinkedIn, which saw its access to tweets cut off at the end of June.

Here’s how Michael Sippey, Twitter’s director of consumer product, explained the changes:

On the left side of the grid are applications that are targeted at businesses.

In the lower-left quadrant, we’ve seen tremendous innovation in applications and services that serve the business market with analytics products based on Twitter content. For example, Crimson Hexagon builds actionable reports for brands, media companies and political campaigns based on the conversation on Twitter; Topsy has built a real-time analytics dashboard to help finance, government, news and brands react to news; and DataMinr provides analytics for the finance industry.

In the upper-left quadrant are providers of tools that help businesses engage with Twitter including social CRM providers like Sprinklr, HootSuite and Radian6 (acquired by, and integration companies like Mass Relevance, which aggregates and filters Tweets for display on TV.
On the right-hand side of the grid are applications that are targeted at consumers.

In the lower-right quadrant are services that use Twitter content for social influence ranking, such as Klout. In the upper right-hand quadrant are services that enable users to interact with Tweets, like the Tweet curation service Storify or the Tweet discovery site

That upper-right quadrant also includes, of course, “traditional” Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Echofon. Nearly eighteen months ago, we gave developers guidance that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” And to reiterate what I wrote in my last post, that guidance continues to apply today.

Translation: We warned you to get out of our way. Now we’re serious.

This is great news for Klout, which just got an official stamp of approval from Twitter. It’s scarier for companies like Storify which are in the dreaded upper right of Sippey’s chart.

Twitter is letting existing Twitter clients continue on, but there are new limits they’ll face which essentially cap how much they can grow without getting Twitter’s explicit consent.

That’s a big change in the Twitter ecosystem from the days when Twitter didn’t even develop its own mobile apps and left that up to third-party developers. But those days are long past.

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