In an effort to maximise user experience, Twitter is coming down hard on developers who build ‘basic’ third party Twitter applications.
Twitter’s platform product manager, Ryan Sarver dealt a harsh blow to developers in a recent public statement – ‘consistency and ecosystem opportunities’ – in which he said, “developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.”
Why? I hear you cry.
In a nutshell, it’s all part of an effort to “move to a less fragmented world” and provide a more consistent user experience.
Sarver pointed the finger at third-party Twitter clients who he said have been disobeying Twitter’s API rules. He said, that due to inconsistent standards, “Twitter has to revoke literally hundreds of API tokens and apps a week”.
He continued, “Our user research shows that consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions.”
Sarver made it clear that existing developers can continue to operate, but will be held to much higher standards. It’s the ‘half baked’ applications that do little more than mimic Twitter that are in trouble.
On a positive note, Sarver pointed out some key areas where developers are thriving, such as publisher tools, real-time data signals, value-added content and vertical experiences and social CRM.
An application that Sarver highlighted was Klout, of which he said “Klout is an example of a company which has taken this to the next level by using Twitter data to generate reputation scores for individuals.”
Other third party apps that Sarver praised included FourSquare, HootSuite, Instagram, SocialFlow, and Seesmic.
The statement continued, “Twitter will provide the primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices by which millions of people access Twitter content (tweets, trends, profiles, etc), and send tweets.”.
The statement concluded;
A lot of Twitter’s success is attributable to a diverse ecosystem of more than 750,000 registered apps. We will continue to support this innovation. We are excited to be working with our developer community to create a consistent and innovative experience for the many millions of users who have come to depend on Twitter every day.
Understandably, there a lot of very unhappy developers out there. But maybe this is a move for the good. What do you think?