Posted by: crudbasher | March 14, 2011

Twitter tells third-party devs to stop making Twitter client apps

Walled Garden (cc) UGArdener

Some unfortunate but expected news from Twitter this weekend. I know many readers of this blog use Twitter to connect with their PLN and get news. I certainly do. Twitter this weekend told third party developers to stop developing Twitter clients. An example would be Tweetdeck. (what I use)  Twitter is going to be the only provider of software to access Tweets.

So why do this?

Money. Twitter has been around for about 5 years now but only really popular in the last 2. The problem is they haven’t been able to make any money. It’s a free service right so how do you make money? They tried advertising tweets but that wasn’t enough. So now they are going to stop being open.

I blame Apple.

Why Apple? For almost all of Apple’s life they have been a closed shop. They owned the whole ecosystem from start to end. They sell you the box, plus the software that comes with it. Being the gatekeeper means you can charge a toll. For some reason that will puzzle social scientists for decades I bet, Apple is however the “cool” product, therefore they have been successful in selling their product. Really they are a very arrogant company though. I don’t have a problem with this by the way, I’m just calling it how I see it. They have been able to make tons of money by controlling access to their devices. Other companies are taking note believe me. ISPs and Content Producers are all starting to make their own ecosystems. In tech speak these are called “walled gardens”. It’s very pretty there but you have to pay to get in.

So what now?

Well, we are going through an interesting phase in the evolution of the Internet. Companies are starting to wall off their products. This doesn’t work well for news because there are other sources of news. It can work for movies and music I suppose because you have a unique product. Eventually though there will be a backlash against this. People won’t want to subscribe to lots of little services to get access to content. People have shown they will pay for individual pieces of content yes (iTunes), but I think they will have a problem with paying a subscription fee just to access the content.  The other problem is, if you are paying for a subscription then you don’t actually own the content. This could also be a problem.

Netflix is making this model work for now but they have a large library of content and it’s cheap. That part is important! You can pay 8 bucks now for Netflix. Now take the Netflix library and split it into 7 parts and pay 8 bucks for each part. That is what is going to happen once content companies pull their content out of Netflix and start creating their own “walled gardens”.

Twitter is now doing the same thing. You can imagine the new Twitter model in a few years. Pay 5 bucks a month for access.  That includes following 100 people and following 5 hashtags. You can of course purchase more if you want. If you want URL shortening that will cost extra. Etc…

The next phase of the Internet is going to be ugly but like all things it won’t last. The wheel keeps turning…

  • Walling off of the net continues

    tags: technology twitter

    • In a statement issued today by Twitter on its official developer mailing list, the company informed third-party developers that they should no longer attempt to build conventional Twitter client applications. In a move to increase the “consistency” of the user experience, Twitter wants more control over how its service is presented to users in all contexts.


    • The announcement is a major blow to the third-party application developers who played a key role in popularizing Twitter’s service. More significantly, it demonstrates the vulnerability of building a business on top of a Web platform that is controlled by a single vendor.


    • “We need to move to a less fragmented world, where every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way. This is already happening organically–the number and market share of consumer client apps that are not owned or operated by Twitter has been shrinking,” wrote Sarver. “Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.”


    • Beyond Twitter itself, this situation reflects the uncertainty of building businesses on top of the social Web. The API-based business model–which puts companies completely at the mercy of a platform provider–comes with lots of risk, especially when network effects come with lock-in and make it difficult to simply rebuild on top of a competing service.


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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