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Ask PG: How/why did "RFS 3 - Build something on Twitter" happen?
33 points by austenallred on Sept 7, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments
From http://ycombinator.com/rfs3.html (the Y Combinator requests for startups):

"We want to fund those companies. And the people at Twitter also want to encourage people to build stuff on top of it. So together we came up with a plan: anyone YC funds to do a startup based on Twitter will get priority access to the Twitter stream, and to people at Twitter."

Yet HN seems to be filled with stories of people who built something on Twitter only to have their API access pulled. Granted, most of them are going against the TOS and basically building a Twitter client, but I frequently hear the advice to "not build a startup on top of Twitter."

Note: I'm particularly curious because the startup my co-founder and I are building, while not 100% Twitter-based, would be absolutely revolutionized were it given full Twitter stream/API access




We thought Twitter had the potential to be an important platform. This was before the company changed its attitude to third parties building things on top of it.


perfect, honest answer. we all did.


Thank you.


That RFS was put up in a time when access to twitter's data was for the most part unregulated and when developers felt encouraged to develop on twitter's platform. No one was really sure what the long term implications were of building on their platform, but there were companies that got acquired and raised capital (eg summize, tweetdeck), so money was flowing. It was basically a bet for twitter becoming The Next Social Platform, sort of like what Facebook became.


Granted, but they revise the RFSs pretty frequently; I doubt they'd leave that up out of sheer negligence. So the questions remain: Does PG still feel that building a startup on top of Twitter to be a good strategy? What insights does PG have as to Twitter's dedication to helping startups?


Honestly, Twitter has even banned games I've written that let users easily tweet their scores. Bans claimed they were clients. So don't think they are being particularly fair or accepting around their TOS. It's more like they sick robot banning algorithms on anything that moves.

Amusingly, I've seen several big apps drop the Twitter API in favor of just asking the user for their username and password and pretending to be browsers. This is pretty much the only way around issues like where popular apps run out of login tokens that are now limited by the API. Terrible for users of course because they have to give out their password, but better than no Twitter integration at all.

So Twitter's API is basically so bad now that client apps are better off pretending they are web browsers.


I don't have insight into this, but since your startup seems to lean heavily on twitter, I'd like you to check out this link/video - it perfectly encapsulates my views on the matter.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/23/fred-wilson-be-your-own-bit...

Specifically, 20 minutes into the video.


this is a must watch video for founders.


I loved working with Twitter's API in its prime, but then they shifted their attitude and started getting really hard to work with.

But before they clamped down and it became impossible to get decent sized datasets, we did some good papers with the Web Ecology Project.




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