The controversy over Twitter’s efforts to close down non-Twitter clients and disable ‘find my friends’ capabilities raise a few questions.
Twitter wants to make money on advertising — sponsored pages and the like — which is reasonable. Let’s leave aside the idea of regulating how third party apps would present Twitter data and ads, which is probably too hard to manage, and would block the third party app vendors from innovating.
So Twitter has to control the user experience, and the third party client apps are the victims of this slow motion train wreck.
As Matthew Yglesias pointed out last week, Twitter isn’t an open web protocol, like email: it’s a company vying against other alternatives, like Facebook, Google+, and now, App.net. The fact that it is pivoting into a closed configuration shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially given the Twitter Platform’s Inflection Point post by Fred Wilson in April 2010, and Ev Wilson’s Twitter For iPhone post the next week. The wheels have been slowly turning, and after several management shakeups, Costolo and company have taken the final steps toward where they said they were headed.
Twitter seems unlikely to start charging us to access the service, so that source of revenue is closed. However, the Hootsuites of the world make money from companies tapping into Twitter. Aren’t they the next to go? Or shouldn’t they be paying a large slice of their revenues to Twitter? Likewise Flipboard and the other social journals?
I also wonder about the big data side. Today, Twitter seems happy to let all sorts of companies get access to the torrent of data flowing through its plumbing. But what if analysis of that stream is where the biggest value lies? Will they close that down? Will Radian6, Nexalogy, Klout, and the others get a cease-and-desist order? Or will they be paying millions to access the data?
Where will Twitter draw the line?
- Twitter Cuts Off LinkedIn — Who’s Next? (allthingsd.com)
- Hey, Twitter - shouldn’t it be about the users? (gigaom.com)
- Twitter API updates: more authentication, fewer tweets, more rules, certification, and … talk to the hand (venturebeat.com)