Twitter decided to flex its muscles yesterday and the casuality this time was UberMedia-the parent company of such third-party apps as (mobile) UberTwitter. See the statement issued by UberMedia (new release) in response.
Apps like UberTwitter have been operating for some time without incident. Why the sudden change?
Twitter is gearing up for big things-or so they hope. They need more advertisers to feed the beast and become profitable.
They perceive themselves to be like Facebook and want to announce their IPO soon. In order to reach that point, they need to be able to demonstrate their reach -via traffic. Third party apps, though, mean users can tap into their twitter feed without ever setting eyes on the Twitter homepage. Twitter needs a captive audience in one place-on Twitter.com to succeed.
The challenge is that Twitter was too open and giving with their APIs from the beginning. Welcoming Twitter app developers certainly helped interest people in Twitter, but it wasn’t a well though out plan for the company. Now Twitter has lost control and they are struggling to get it back. In contrast, Facebook has done a great deal to control third-party apps. Ultimately, Facebook users are driven back to its site for almost everything they do on Facebook.
What’s to come next? Well, I’m not rushing to download a new mobile twitter client. And I’m hoping others refrain. Twitter opened itself up to developers and many produced a product which was easier and smarter to use than the original interface itself. Don’t penalize the developers. May Twitter should try stepping up its own game, making more attractive user interfaces and then it won’t have to shut down the competition.