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Twitter sets max user caps for 3rd party clients and limits rates (thenextweb.com)
250 points by rkudeshi on Aug 16, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 111 comments

Basic truth: New technology is driven by early adopters, who then influence their less tech-savvy pals. Happened with Google, happened with the iPhone, and it happened with Twitter.

So now that the obvious is out of the way – we'll look back one day and see this as the day Twitter fucked the dog.

They've made a decision that motivates the very core of early adopters who embraced Twitter to move on.

Yeah, they have to make money. They've convinced themselves the experience must be entirely under their control to do it. Okay. And maybe that's so.

And maybe they'll squeeze some pennies out for awhile.

In the meantime, there's a group of folks who first jumped into Twitter during the days where you weren't chained to their mediocre user products. They'll start the move to a better network.

And one day, everyone will look around and see all that's left on Twitter is the glitter gif morons and big brands with more money than sense, just as happened with MySpace.

MySpace didn't die because they pissed off the early adopter geeks. They pissed off everyone. And everyone left. If Twitter just becomes the place where hundreds of millions of people follow hundreds of celebrities while also looking at ads, I think they're okay with that.

I don't think Myspace pissed anyone off, it was more that their product didn't make any sense. In my experience people didn't leave Myspace for Facebook because they "hated Myspace", they left because Facebook was a better product that met their needs.

I don't think Twitter should be concerned unless someone builds a better product.

> I don't think Twitter should be concerned unless someone builds a better product.

Which is inevitable. Their clients are crappy, otherwise there wouldn't be a third-party ecosystem to piss off in the first place.

Which means their only defense is network effects.

Which means it's probably a bad idea to motivate all your early adopters to find and grow the network that unseats you.

I think you're really underestimating the value that "normal people" provide to Twitter, I would bet that the majority of Twitter users (that are active) are not "early adopters", but "normal people" that follow celebrities and talk to their friends. I left high school a few years back and the majority of my Facebook friends are ~19-20, almost all of them use Twitter and not a single one could write a line of code in any programming language, nor could they give a damn about whether or not Twitter is open to developers.

Take a look at the Twitter trends list if you want proof that Twitter caters more to "normal people" than it does "technology" people, here's the #1 trend as I type this: http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23NameATurnOn

Yes, their only defense is their network (which is, in my opinion, their "product"), but the majority of their network is not going to leave because of their developer relations. Twitter are safe as long as an alternative doesn't exist and they provide value to their users.

Twitter aren't stupid, they're not going to be enacting this plan if the majority of their users use third party clients. I suspect the majority of people that do use third party clients are those using "value adding" third party clients, like Hootsuite, and those that use Hootsuite are the people that get value from Twitter's network (for example marketing people) so if Hootsuite shuts down they're not going to quit Twitter, they're going to move to an official client.

Myspace was full of normal people too, not just hardcore early adopters. AOL was full of normal people, only geeks wanted real TCP/IP to surf and play games.

If your client annoys people too much, they'll move on too. Nullsoft learned that the hard way with Winamp 3. Gnome may be in the middle of that lesson right now.

If the percentage of 3rd party client users are small, then why would they even bother enacting this change in the first place?

> Twitter aren't stupid

Oh come on, that's not an argument. There have been countless examples throughout history of companies (in tech and otherwise) that have done stupid things that have directly contributed to their demise. There's no reason to assume that Twitter won't end up like them.

Small as a percentage is still millions and millions of people and tens of millions of requests.

I think you might be missing the point. If early adopters move on, they will likely be moving on to another service, in which case they will start the chain of movement away from Twitter and towards other platforms.

This will inevitably decrease the amount of "normal people" as active users.

> Twitter aren't stupid

Twitter is run by people, and sometimes people make decisions which are, either at the time or in hindsight, stupid. The argument that companies won't do something because it will damage them has been proved wrong so many times in the past.

I'm not saying that this particular decision is stupid, but the idea that companies always act in some kind of enlightened self-interest make the right decisions to do so is just plain wrong.

Entirely so – they died from a stagnant product and a hideous experience.

But whether MySpace died from Twitter's flavor of incompetence or not is irrelevant to the point that the end result is going to look comically similar.

Matt Yglesias had an interesting idea [1] when he pointed out that instead of being obsessed with selling display ads in tweet streams they should have monetized the tweet streams themselves.

I wonder if it alienating Gaga/Bieber would turn out any better for them then alienating developers though.


[1] ... Twitter seems to clearly intend to move in the direction of becoming an advertising business.

It seems like a mistake to me, if only because as it currently exists my twitter feed is already full of what amount to ads. A lot of the culprits are people just like me—journalists touting our latest articles. Then you have various other media personalities, celebrities, and authors investing in their personal brand. You have food trucks telling you about their location and local restaurants touting specials and deals. Every big company has one or more corporate twitter accounts these days for PR and marketing purposes. Rather than selling lots of ads on Twitter, Twitter could sell itself as a service to the large number of people and firms who are already organically using it as an advertising tool.

Which is just to say that the Twitter user base seems ideal for a tiered pricing model. Most people on Twitter don't tweet that much, don't have very many followers, and don't particularly aspire to having a large number of followers. Then you have a relatively small minority of heavy users who are deliberately courting a mass Twitter audience. Just charge us! Let everyone with fewer than 500 followers use it for free, and then have a few tiers of pricing for people with large followings. Most people probably have no desire to pay for Twitter, but anyone who's bothered to amass 20,000 is obviously getting a lot of value from access to the Twitter audience and would pay for it. Meanwhile the broad mass of non-professional users could keep using a great no-charge ad-free service that creates the ecosystem pro users want to pay to gain access to.

People who say that Twitter should just charge pro users don't get what Twitter is trying to achieve. Twitter doesn't want to be a million-dollar business, they want to be a billion-dollar business. They wont get there by charging users. Not even close.

Of course their plan to become a billion-dollar business could causes them to become a zero-dollar business.

The problem is that they seem to be overreaching, and doing it in what may be a self-destructive manor.

A 20% shot at a 5 billion dollar bushiness may be a perfectly rational choice on their part.

Pretty sure the list of companies that have made billions charging users is nonzero.

Text messaging has certainly been driven by user fees. If you look at the tv market it's moved from primarily ad driven to primarily fee driven.

You're not going to make billions charging only ~10% of your userbase.

If you have a billion users and you charge .1% of them $1,000 that's $1 billion. If you charge another 1% of them $100 that's another $1 billion. If you charge another 10% of them $10 that's another $1 billion. That's $3 billion already and we're just playing with rough numbers.

How large is Twitter's userbase?

The vast majority of Twitter users don't use Twitter because they like the 3rd party apps.

They use Twitter because they could get constant updates from Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

3rd party apps means nothing to them as long as Bieber and Gaga are still on Twitter.

> 3rd party apps means nothing to them as long as Bieber and Gaga are still on Twitter.


> They use Twitter because they could get constant updates from Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

Also true.

> The vast majority of Twitter users don't use Twitter because they like the 3rd party apps.

True again.

And entirely missing the point. New technologies are driven by early adopters. And Twitter is in the very unique position of having flipped a lever that alienates that precise population all at once.

So they'll move on to the next big thing, build up the network, and eventually Bieber will move over because it's actually not hard to build a better product than Twitter.

Their only insurance is network effects, and they've undermined that advantage by delivering the most perfect gift basket packed with early adopters to Dalton Caldwell.

> New technologies are driven by early adopters.

This is why you're missing the point.

Twitter isn't "new technology". It's not even a technology company. It is a way for people to get their celebrity fix.

Sure early adopters would move to whatever Dalton Caldwell is building. That's a non-event to 99.9% of Twitter users.

Followers of Lady Gaga don't care what new service Robert Scoble is jumping to.

> Twitter isn't "new technology".

Its competition will be.

If the world worked the way you're describing, Yahoo would still be king, MySpace would reign supreme and and I'd be using a Blackberry.

In the short term, Twitter will be fine, of course you're right there. I'm not proposing an instantaneous timescale.

In five years, they're fucked.

> Its competition will be.

Good luck trying to compete on technology when the users don't care about technology

> If the world worked the way you're describing, Yahoo would still be king, MySpace would reign supreme and and I'd be using a Blackberry.

...and Craigslist would still be king in local marketplace.

Oh wait, Craigslist IS still king in local marketplace. What happened to all those CL competitors who touted their superior technologies and APIs?

That's right, they all failed because the users don't care about the technologies and the APIs.

> That's right, they all failed because the users don't care about the technologies and the APIs.

I'm so glad we agree on this. Users indeed do not care about technologies or APIs.

They care about great experiences.

Twitter does not excel at great experiences. If they did, third party clients would not have to exist.

Since they do, 23% of Twitter users choose to consume the network via superior-to-them, third-party offerings. Twitter has signed the death warrant of those products. Craigslist would be a valid counter-argument had it been initially built on the strength of third-party clients and then killed them. (PadMapper doesn't count, before you bring it up. It came to craigslist after dominance, not before.)

Twitter, on the other hand, has two native clients that began their very lives as third-party products.

We'll see. Maybe Twitter will be just fine after taking their most engaged users and sending them elsewhere.

Or maybe the users will follow their tech-savvy friends to a better experience, which again, isn't a hard category to trounce Twitter in.

> They care about great experiences.

> Since they do, 23% of Twitter users choose to consume the network via superior-to-them, third-party offerings.

So what you're saying is that the vast majority (77%) of Twitter users choose the native Twitter offerings because they offer superior experiences.


Or they're not aware of any alternatives, as the official Twitter app came pre-installed on their phones.

Which means they don't care enough about "great experience" to bother with looking for another app.

Twitter is like Cosmopolitan or People, not like "technology." Except to the extent that all media relies on technology to enable it.

Twitter is an experience. I actually hardly use it because all I can figure out it is good for is passively receiving spam from people I am following as they try to market their ventures to me.

But I recognize that early adopters mean nothing in this context, technology is irrelevant. You guys need to start trying to create some real tech and stop this fantasy that markup is some kind of high tech stuff in 2012.

"They care about great experiences."

I think you just made Twitter's point for them. Yes, their current apps have problems, but I think they are really worried about the varied Twitter experience people are having on all of the various implementation of it. If someone has a bad experience on Echofon, they might blame that on Twitter, so I think you are right, and this is Twitters (possibly flawed) way of holding onto that.

"Craigslist would be a valid counter-argument had it been initially built on the strength of third-party clients and then killed them."

You haven't made a case for why this distinction matters. I don't think it does.

And Facebook wouldn't have given way to G+.... Wait, that didn't happen.

Early adopters influence the populace when it comes to new experiences. Any new twitter clone is not a new experience. If twitter already solves the "celebrity fix" problem, it doesn't matter how new or shiny its technological superior will be. No one will care. This is exactly why CL is still king, why Facebook is still king, and why twitter has nothing to worry about.

(Myspace was different in that facebook had the "cool" factor that myspace never had).

Facebook could subvert that in an instant. Literally tomorrow, if they wanted to do so.

Facebook has been trying to so for ages with their "subscribe" button.

If that’s considered "wanting to subvert Twitter", it’s not twitter who’s in trouble. But I suspect (and hope) that’s not Facebook’s end game with subscribe.

I would tend to agree with your initial statement.

Which is why I believe what nerds are ranting about on HN does make a difference. I would guess that other users will never find out about certain stuff unless the serious nerds let them- they are the "trend makers" so to speak. Whether popularity equals instant and lasting profit is another question. But no one can deny Twitter has become very popular. It's valuable because it's useful, even if it's not a winner in terms of profitability. (Much like Wikipedia.)

Contrast this with the enormous number of developers who are focused on some mythical end user they can speculate about and that they know they can easily manipulate. Or with folks who are using PR and the tech media to fool investors and generate short-lived buzz amongst less savvy users. Internet VC guilty as charged. These guys are usually rational and know the scent of money a little better. But they cannot control what becomes popular, not like a mob of irrational, fussy nerds can.

Free stuff frustrates a lot of developers. But do not forget the internet is in its infancy. We're still trying to get stuff working. That Twitter even works (the SMS part) is a blessing.

Will App.net be able to make agreements with all the telcos as Twitter did? We shall see.

If I use Twitter, it's not because of third party products. While I could see a decision like this severely impacting Facebook, whose applications I do use from time to time, I don't know that it will hurt Twitter.

Are there any ground breaking Twitter applications that are keeping users around? If not, why would they need to make themselves a platform?

I see myself using Twitter a lot less if I had to use their mobile app, rather than a third-party one that doesn't suck (I use TweetBot exclusively).

Conversely, I use no third-party Facebook applications, unless you count FB Connect as a more than a SSO mechanism (i.e., I'm not actually using FB or its network benefits on any site/app using FBC).

> They've made a decision that motivates the very core of early adopters who embraced Twitter to move on.

What decision specifically are you talking about?

Limiting the growth and development of third party applications.

Wow, fuck you very much, Twitter. I really wish this had happened when App.net was still raising their $500k. Even though I still don't think App.net will work out, I would've still chipped in out of spite towards Twitter.

This is ridiculous, and I'm going to figure out how to get out as soon as possible.

edit: I put my money where my mouth is, as it were:


    Thank you for joining App.net!

    You will receive an email confirmation to complete the signup process.

    Your plan is Developer Tier for $100 per year.

    You're in line to join the alpha with username: @aaronbrethorst.

App.net got over $800k in funding and still has a large amount left from picplz. As Dalton put it at last nights AirBnB tech talk, they have an "infinite amount of time" for a startup. As in several years at their current burn rate.

1 week to write a Twitter clone, several years to blog about it.

They can just use the rails tutorial, right? :-)

Congratulations Dalton Caldwell!

Who could have known that Twitter would just hand you the entire game with one stupid maneuver.

It makes things harder for developers. But it doesn't affect end-user at all. Twitter already has eye balls, celebrity users. Average joe doesn't care if Twitter has 100k user cap for third party client. End-user experience is getting better day by day. Ask someone who is not tech savvy is on Twitter.

Users will care then their favorite application no longer works.

They will curse the application developer and choose the next best application. In this case, it will be Twitter.

Please read the original article. This very unfairly summarizes the actual blogpost.

The limit isn't 60 hits per hour. It's 60 hits per hour per endpoint, and only for some endpoints.

The user limit is 1 million users for certain api endpoints, and 100k for others - and if you need more than that, they would like you to reach out to them.

Oh, and also, all current clients are grandfathered into the old terms.

Please examine the bandwagon carefully before jumping on it.

From https://dev.twitter.com/blog/changes-coming-to-twitter-api:

"If your application already has more than 100,000 individual user tokens, you'll be able to maintain and add new users to your application until you reach 200% of your current user token count (as of today) — as long as you comply with our Rules of the Road. Once you reach 200% of your current user token count, you'll be able to maintain your application to serve your users, but you will not be able to add additional users without our permission."

Translation: 'Fuck you, 3rd party Twitter clients.' They'll still cut them off at the knees when they hit at most 200,000 users.

Edit: I kept reading the blog post and it got better:

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.

In other words, 3rd party Twitter clients are dead. Not today, but next year they're dead as a doorknob.

Edit 2: Thanks for the clarification on the '200%' thing. I think the net result is still about the same for Twitter clients in the end. They'll be EOL'd by their developers and increasingly ignored by users.

Not 200k users. 200% of their current user count. If Product A has 150k user tokens then their limit is now 300k. If Product B has 5 billion user tokens then their limit is now 10 billion.

Although this distinction doesn't really change anything.

    Translation: 'Fuck you, 3rd party Twitter clients.' 
    They'll still cut them off at the knees when they hit 
    at most 200,000 users.
Nitpick - it's 200% of what they're at now, so if they currently have a million users they're good for up to 2 million.

> 3rd party clients that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.

Not clients that cater to anything other than the basic user. Managing multiple accounts already seems to deviate from that qualifier.

> Managing multiple accounts already seems to deviate from that qualifier.

I wonder what would happen if Twitter built this capability into their own app.

Or, if they just said "yeah, well, fuck you."

> I wonder what would happen if Twitter built this capability into their own app.

This is built in to the official iPhone Twitter app.

It's rather frightening that the only example that they give of a user facing service in the appropriate 'quadrant' is Klout.

Good: Klout

Bad: Tweetbot, Storify

What is this, Opposite Day? That stopped being fun in kindergarten.

In the tweet display guidelines: "No other social or 3rd party actions may be attached to a Tweet." https://dev.twitter.com/terms/display-guidelines

Wonder if that means 3rd party apps can't add actions to tweets like "assign to a user", "translate", "schedule a reply", etc. That might just kill major functionality for apps like HootSuite, CoTweet, Radian6's Engagement Console.

Or, since it's under the guidelines for individual tweets, are tweets in the timeline excluded from that limitation?

Tweets in a timeline, on the Twitter feed in the web client, all have the retweet/quote/reply/favourite actions per-tweet so I would expect that they mean each and every tweet displayed anywhere.

"It is also limiting the rate on its API per end-point, meaning that most individual clients will be limited to 60 calls per hour instead of 350 calls per hour. "

If you can't raise revenue, reduce expenses. That cut is significant enough to reduce their rate of growth of monthly expenses but probably not enough to reduce their rate of user growth. Probably not a bad move for them.

With press releases like this Twitter is App.net's new best friend.

<i>Most individual API endpoints will be rate limited at 60 calls per hour per-endpoint. Based on analysis of current use of our API, this rate limit will be well above the needs of most applications built against the Twitter API, while protecting our systems from abusive applications.

There will be a set of high-volume endpoints related to Tweet display, profile display, user lookup and user search where applications will be able to make up to 720 calls per hour per endpoint.</i>

60 calls per hour are only for certain endpoints, probably creating lists, tweeting... It's really rare that an user uses so much of this kind of resources. The endpoints that are used the more (viewing tweets, look up an user, etc) are actually less limited than before.

Maybe they just hate the crazed Bieber, Glee, and Twilight fans out there with over 20k tweets to their name like the rest of us. :)

It could suck for live-tweeting events, though.

Remember the Great Twitter Strategy Document Leak of 2009?


What happened to those plans? They seemed so smart...

New management, new strategy.

Twitter is making it very unappealing to build on their platform, since developers have to effectively give up a large chunk of autonomy and trust that Twitter's business model won't change again, and that Twitter won't suddenly start competing with them. And anyone who's paying attention knows that that's exactly what Twitter will do, since they don't have a clear, believable business model, and they've done it(destroyed their 'developers') before.

I use Twitter via their official apps, I have tried some of the third party apps but haven't really been impressed. After all this time it didn't seem like the app ecosystem was coming up with anything really innovative besides slightly different ways of organizing the feeds.

That's because they bought the cool third party apps like the TweetDeck and Tweetie, and have since begun shunning third party developers. In short, the official apps were third party apps, and now no one wants to make any additional Twitter apps because Twitter has become hostile to developers. They've closed the door on third party inovation for their platform.

> like the TweetDeck and Tweetie

Don't you mean Tweetbot or something? Tweetie was bought by Twitter, rebranded to be the official Twitter client, and in no small part gutted and left to rot (gutted for the mobile version, left to rot for the desktop one).

>> That's because they bought the cool third party apps like the TweetDeck and Tweetie

>Tweetie was bought by Twitter

That's what they said. I think you misread that post.

Try twicca on Android. It is substantially faster to use and performs really well (scrolling long lists) on older Android devices.

In fact, the official clients are almost unusable on slower/older Android devices, whereas twicca is fast and responsive.

I finally got really into Twitter this year. Sad to see them being so restrictive with their platform. Maybe App.Net isn't such a bad idea after all.

It's amazing how poor the first party clients for Facebook and Twitter are compared to the functionality and rate of development on 3rd party apps. Maybe paying to be a part of a less restrictive network will be worth it in the end. I just hope they can get a big following with a bunch of apps integrated with it.

I'm having trouble trying to figure out who Twitter's trying to target with these changes - and can't figure out if:

1. They want to corner the advertiser & business market - ie it's an attack on Hootsuite etc

2. They want to lock out competitors from pwning them on search (Google/Bing incorporating [good] twitter results into their searches would IMO be devastating to twitter - particularly if they didn't embed intents / hueg links to twitter everywhere)

3. They want to own the ecosystem so that twitter clients don't cross-post to Facebook/G+/app.net/favourite social network here

4. (I don't think this is likely) - Twitter thinking that they can somehow squeeze an extra couple of bucks out of each user if they're on an official client via advertising or something similar.


Each of these seems plausible to me, but all of them essentially involve twitter holding customers/data/users hostage which doesn't seem like a great strategy.

Is there some angle I'm missing here / reading too much into?

I was also trying to figure out the business rationale for this move. Their 2x2 chart gets us relatively close to understanding their strategy. Here's what it looks like:

- Twitter doesn't want to own analytics for business or consumer players. - Twitter doesn't want to own engagement for businesses. - Twitter DOES want to own engagement for consumers.

This seems pretty counter-intuitive to me. Since businesses are the ones who actually pay twitter cash, I would have expected them to try to own the whole left side of their chart, and leave developers to create new innovations for the whole right side of the chart. What would you have to believe in order for this to be a good idea? Some possibilities: - Twitter thinks that developers will ruin the consumer experience, slowing their growth. - Twitter thinks that businesses won't pay them unless consumers are tweeting on twitter.com - Twitter doesn't think that analytics or business engagement services will be lucrative enough for them to invest directly in. - Twitter thinks that if the developer community spends its effort in the top-right, it will distract the community from innovating in the other three quadrants, where Twitter wants to see more development to unlock more business-driven revenues (This one is a real longshot, but I'm trying to be comprehensive) - Twitter doesn't care about users tweeting or consuming tweets if they aren't on twitter.com (I'm still struggling to figure out why this is bad for twitter -- any thoughts, HN?)

How would you feel if Google announced that you could only access their services using Chrome? What does it take to activate the antitrust lawyers?

I wonder if "antitrust" and "monopoly" talk are HN forms of Godwin's Law.

Before Twitter would be remotely concerned about antitrust, there would have to not be a place with more users that you can talk about your cat's lunch to your heart's content. Facebook has more to fear than Twitter does.

I'd feel pretty shitty if Microsoft said I could only access Windows Update using Internet Explorer.

This is the kind of thing that happens when you don't have a business model.

I wonder if a p2p twitter would be possible. I guess there would be real storage/timeliness issues, but twitter always struck me as more rss replacement than anything else, and I'm not sure it makes sense to have something like that run by one company.

I think twitter is a cool concept/application, but I'm not sure it will ever be a great business.

A decentralized "Twitter" exists, is fully functional, and is open source.


there's also rstat.us :) ( https://rstat.us/about )

I have a genius idea how to make a p2p pseudo-twitter which I have shared with only one person yet, but why not share it now on HN (maybe someone can build it instead of me, since I don't have the time at the moment because of school stuff).

Basically, what you need to solve in something like p2p twitter is: how to authentificate the user, how to send the message around, how to archive the message that it is not lost.

Now the genius idea: all of this is exactly what bitcoin solves.

Bitcoin already has mechanisms for authenticating. Bitcoin already has mechanisms for sharing messages (altough it is called "transactions"). Bitcoin has a mechanism for archiving those messages (it's called "blockchain").

And the kicker - bitcoin already has an ability to enter arbitrary data into the transaction. (sure, not much, but about the 160 letters tweets have.) You just add it into the script and add OP_DROP; since the transaction including script is signed, noone can just remove it.

My idea was to hijack the already existing bitcoin infrastructure and hack Twitter-like P2P messaging thing on top of it; let's call it "bitmessage".

How would sending a "bitmessage" look like? Well, you can, for example, send money from your address to the same address (send money to yourself) and add the wanted string into the script.

You can then look for a message of a given user (if you take bitcoin address as an ID of the user).

Now of course, this wouldn't be free for long (if it catched up). Right now, bitcoin miners take just anything the P2P network throws at them, but if the network was flooded with people sending money to themselves with a message in script, they would just throw these away so it doesn't enlarge the already giant blockchain. However, you can add fees to any transaction. If you add fees high enough, some block miner will eventually take your "bitmessage" and add it to the blockchain.

Would the resulting thing be equivalent of twitter? No, it would be slow (it takes about 10 minutes to get transaction to blockchain) and it would most likely not be for free (if it catches on, miners will throw away the messages with low fees). On the other hand, every message would be recorded forever, without any chance of anyone deleting it, censoring it or getting your IP address. Also, the Bitcoin seems to be going strong and doesn't seem like it will go away any time soon, and the infrastructure is super-strong.

I want to hack a prototype... maybe... one day.

Just a tip. When you start a sentence with "I have a genius idea" people will not think it's a genius idea; or at least judge your comments to an unreasonably high standard of your own creation.

well, I didn't mean it that seriously, but thanks

That is a great idea--it's funny because I was thinking along similar lines where bitcoin has the blockchain and maybe a similar scheme could be used to have a central, p2p verified stream/history of tweets.

I was thinking the downside would be that the blockchain would end up being HUGE if it got even 5% of the traffic that twitter sees every day. That said, maybe you could get around it by breaking the chain into randomly distributed sub-segments or something like that. Maybe I'm overestimating the storage requirements and it wouldn't be so different than what bitcoin has to deal with already. And ah yes, the miners... Not as much motivation for miners to verify transactions (or posts or whatever) with a service like that, and kind of a pita for the users if they have to pay something for each tweet... then again, would probably cut down on twitter bots/spam...

It seems to me that a project like that would be really difficult as Twitter has had enough problems scaling an infrastructure they control 100%. But yeah, I think there's a lot that could be learned from bitcoin to do something like that.

About the size of the blockchain: yeah, it would probably explode. On the other hand, if the dreams of BitCoin proponents are to come true and BitCoin will become the new online currency it wants to be, it will explode anyway.

About the scaling problems.... the bitcoin ecosystem is altogether the biggest supercomputer ever. I think it will handle it somehow.

Of course, the problems like searching in the blockchain for a given address would still be there. But again, thin clients (and, therefore, a slight centralization) are the future for bitcoin anyway.

There are extensions to "Namecoin", a bitcoin alternate chain, that does things like this. For example: http://dot-bit.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2273


It seems to me that the kinds of applications they are trying to prevent from existing are precisely the ones that they could learn the most from and could provide them with the most new users.

I also don't see how this action actually wins them that many more eyes. Are there really that many third party Twitter apps out there?

I anticipate a flurry of parodies on their use of the term "flock" except away from Twitter and not towards.

There could be a revenue stream in here. They're limiting how many free users an application may have, but I would expect they could charge Tweetbot to have more users. Tweetbot could simply build this cost into the software.

I have seen a lot more pushes trying to get me to advertise lately (tons of sponsored tweets). I wonder if this is related to their revenue push--knock out their competitors and lower API costs.

Can you smell that? It's the smell of victory, the smell of Dalton Caldwell lighting a Cuban cigar in celebration of Twitter driving basically every single 3rd party developer over to App.net.

This removes their duality of being a media / service play. This is highly beneficial to Twitter itself as well as to a new service/platform aiming to be a pure microblogging piping service. The only loser here are the Twitter app developers and startups which are faced with a now limited channel to promote their apps.

I don't see how this benefits Twitter.

A large amount of users rely solely on a dedicated third party client. If those apps lose the ability to provide the same reliable service, then Twitter (as a platform) will also be affected.

"Only" 23% of users.

Still, I could see the argument that some users are better than others and the most engaged ones are more likely to get a third party client.

Which means either Twitter loses those users eventually or coerces them into using their first-party offerings.

Existing clients are grandfathered in, as far as I can tell from Twitter's blog post.

It will coerce/force a % of users to use the 1st party apps. It will also allow them to focus on media platform features without the distraction of pleasing 3rd party devs (at the moment). I am pretty sure they will improve that side AFTER they have finished being a destination platform.

I really want to like Twitter, I really do. So many possibilities, so many interesting services built on top of them, it would be a great centre for "online identity", a main front to communicate with friends and audience.

Except when they do these kinds of things, and I wonder how on Earth it makes any sense besides "because we can"?

Anyone know how to check the number of users that have authenticated the apps on the twitter dev portal?

Currently you can't. They used to show those numbers but dropped it, I think, for scaling issues a long while ago. Maybe Twitter will bring it back.

So why are they doing this? My guess is to drive users to their clients, so that they can start displaying ads and gather revenue. 3rd party clients won't display Twitter's own ads so there's no way for the service to collect on that.

Winter is coming.

Which winter are you talking about? Twitter has been tightening the strings for a while now.

R.I.P. Twitter

*06/2006 †08/2012

I guess twitter thinks it is big enough to stop worrying about pissing third party developers off. In the short term it probably won't hurt them much.

If you are develop!ng for every s!ngle platform on th!s planet today, you are e!ther f!!ked or wa!t!ng to be f!!ked. Un!ted, developers!

With the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini coming up, I wonder if the projections of new users from those influenced this decision?

Well I am out of there first chance I see...

What's stopping you now?

Where should I go to? Status.net somehow didn't deliver, although I guess I could reevaluate. I think what was missing back then was mirroring Twitter - my tweets were sent to Twitter, but I didn't get the Tweets from the people I followed on Twitter.

Hello App.net.

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