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Thank you for this. It's not anecdotal to simply say "don't rely on platforms". Be weary of platforms that are free. They do have risks. It's important to understand those risks before thinking you've just hit a gold mine.

Personally, I wonder if this sort of pushback will drive us towards a more standards-ish way of approaching platforms where it won't be enough to simply provide an API ā€“ to get use, you'll need to make it a more standardized API that provides a more standardized sort of data ā€“ because only when we have those sorts of standards can we hope of it being safe to develop based on someone else's free API ā€“ because I know if I need to, I can substitute in (or combine) some other data source.

Relatedly, Right now, what I think we're seeing is a lack of real competition of direct substitutes. There is nothing exactly substitutable for Twitter quite in the way that products ranging from Heinz Ketchup to the Chevy Malibu face real, direct substitutes, rather than a more abstracted category substitute (i.e. Facebook is similar to Twitter, but it's not a perfect substitute). As such, switching costs are higher and it makes development for a specific platform more risky.

I'd say avoid platforms that lock you in to that vendor, free or not. I've read of paid accounts being shut down just as unceremoniously. Or prices were increased 10X. Even when not locked in, one should be ready enough to move to another vendor without too much problem.

Well, if you're paying, you should at least have some sort of contractual protection. If you don't, you're just a wallet to them, not a valued customer.

I totally agree. There are no free lunches and there will be no free lunches. Piggy-backing is fine but it's unsustainable if you don't offer the part you're piggy-backing something in return.

Google Maps is a pretty good example of why you should be wary of all platforms, free or not.

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