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"More specifically, developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.".

How can a company who's user base has grown to such an amount because of third party clients say something like this? Talk about showing a little appreciation. As someone who develops a Twitter client, it is a huge kick in the teeth.

I thought the next paragraph was much more interesting:

"If you are an existing developer of client apps, you can continue to serve your user base, but we will be holding you to high standards to ensure you do not violate users' privacy, that you provide consistency in the user experience, and that you rigorously adhere to all areas of our Terms of Service."

Translation: "we will be looking very hard for any excuse to shut down existing unofficial Twitter clients."

So are they pushing the next wave of developers to resort to scraping instead of playing nice with the API?

I can't imagine that Twitter's service adds enough value to any 3rd party developer that scraping would make any sense. I think Twitter's doing irreversible damage to their developer community.

Wether or not that backfires on them is yet to be seen.

Not only is it a kick in the teeth to developers, but the reason Twitter has traction, spread and growth is because of the diversity of tools around Twitter. The user experience is not all in their hands, and isn't it ironic that this comes a week after the "dickbar" incident? Twitter hasn't really proven they can keep the user experience the way it should be. There was a post last week here on HN about how Tweetie used to never crash and the lastest release was awful... Get your act together Twitter or don't be the elephant in the room, or act that way.

The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that Dickbar and the backlash it received contributed to this. For instance, the iOS official app is the best Twitter client so far despite shoving promoted trends down our throats. One could come up with a better client with no dickbar and everyone would be flocking there. By discouraging new clients, they are discouraging our ability to turn off dickbar.

>shoving promoted trends down our throats.

And are they also "shoving" an extremely popular, free service with ongoing development "down your throat?" I am a fan of free software etc. (even set up a diaspora account... lol), but I don't understand how people expect businesses such as twitter to run forever without a viable revenue stream.

Of course, they shouldn't kill the goose that laid the golden egg, but after a while you have to wonder if these eggs aren't just tin someone took a can of spray paint to! What "gold"? Tons of users are nice insofar as they lead to money. Users are not an end in themselves.

Sorry for the rant but please, people, stop acting like twitter owes you something. (My comments are vis-a-vis users, I do think what they are doing to developers is not right, from a courtesy point of view.)

Where are these developers that ask this?

If you're going to roll on new draconian policies, have the balls just to lay it down as it is. Not wrap it up as if they're doing the developer community a favor when clearly no developers have been asking this at all!.

(Yeah, I know that 'we've been asked' is usual a PR spin mechanism, it's just a shitty way to communicating with people)

The thing is, if you look at the new terms of service, they aren't prohibiting new clients, nor are they shutting down old ones without cause. They just think that this particular niche is already filled, and suggesting that developers pursue other areas. It's perhaps not the friendliest thing to do, but I don't see it as a kick in the teeth.

they aren't prohibiting new clients

If you ask me, that's actually worse. Why such ambiguity? It is pretty apparent Twitter is no fan of clients because of revenue reasons. They will do all of us a service by clearly acknowledging that and simply banning apps of specific nature.

It would sting, sure, but I'd respect a company openly stating financial realities versus a company giving developers a runaround.

Yeah, I keep reading the post, looking for "no new clients" statement that is in OP's headline, and not finding it. I read it as you do; they suggest there's not a whole lot of opportunity in building more clients, but it doesn't read like they'd deny you an API key for it.

Why not let the market decide this though? If someone wants to make a new client because they either see a profit there or have some new ideas I don't think they should be telling them not to.

This highlights an interesting loophole in the libertarian "magic markets" theory: a truly free market includes the right to create closed, authoritarian ecosystems, such as the App Store, or the downloadable game markets on all three major consoles.

Sometimes the model turns out to be inefficient and unsustainable, and such companies are crushed by more open competitors, but not always.

A healthy third-party client ecosystem is the only reliable hedge against future dickbar offenses. It makes sense that they'd want to shut it down. But this move is about what's best for Twitter's business, not the users.

That's why it feels so wrong.

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