Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Future of Many Third-Party Twitter Apps in Question as New API Pricing Is Shared With Developers

Juli Clover, MacRumors:

Third-party Twitter app developers will be required to purchase a Premium or Enterprise Account Activity API package to access a full set of activities related to a Twitter account including Tweets, @mentions, Replies, Retweets, Quote Tweets, Retweets of Quoted Tweets, Likes, Direct Messages Sent, Direct Messages Received, Follows, Blocks, Mutes, typing indicators, and read receipts.

Premium API access, which provides access to up to 250 accounts, is priced at $2,899 per month, while enterprise access is more expensive, with pricing quotes available from Twitter following an application for an enterprise account.

That is a huge lump of money: over $10 per user per month from developers for real-time activity if they have just 250 users; can you imagine the rate for tens of thousands of users? Let’s be generous and assume that they’ll give third-party developers operating at that scale a remarkable deal of $1 per user per month. At $12 per user per year, that’s probably unsustainable for developers like Tapbots and the Iconfactory to be charging a flat rate.

I know lots of people — myself included — who have proposed paying a monthly fee to continue using third-party clients. Loathe as I am to suggest it, perhaps a subscription model is one way for these apps to stay afloat. Given the choice, I’d rather pay five bucks per month to continue to use Tweetbot than use the official Twitter app, especially as there isn’t a first-party Mac client.

I bet I’m in the minority, though; I bet this is Twitter’s way of slowly turning the taps off for third-party apps that replicate the consumer Twitter experience. What a pisser.

As an aside, Twitter developer relations has mastered the art of the sleazy redirection:

There’s no streaming connection capability as is used by only 1% of monthly active apps. Also there’s no home timeline data. We have no plans to add that data to Account Activity API or create a new streaming service. However, home timeline data remains accessible via REST API.

The 1% of monthly active apps that make use of streaming could represent hundreds of thousands of users, maybe even millions. Only Twitter knows that for certain, but they’re not sharing it, because it would give away an approximate number of users who reject Twitter’s own apps while still using the platform.