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February 04, 2009


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I can't find a Terms of Use for the Twitter API, so I'm not sure there are any legal issues against it. I also can't see any technical issues on why you wouldn't be able to do it. I would guess with Yammer that they see no reason to as they are trying position themselves as like a Twitter for internal use.

John Flynn

I agree with you that Twitter is going to need a "paid for" service. With the increase of Twitter the noise level is going to get very loud.

Plus the Social Media Gods (SMG) for the most part (except for you and a few others) have left us. They just come in and spam something and leave.

Coporations are now starting to see the benifit of Twitter (Dell selling one million dollars) and are slowing coming on board.

The strange thing is why Twitter turned down the half of BILLION dollars from Facebook.

What are they thinking. What is next?

Don Draper

* What restrictions does Twitter places on the use of its API?
Twitter throttles the use of the API via technical means. It's limited by user, so for a specific user/password combination there is a maximum of API calls you can make across all applications. They've also limited applications to 20K calls/day from an IP address. The way the API is set up, even a simple query such as find all followers of a user can require a few hundred API calls for someone with a large following. From the standpoint of an API programmer, though, there are no restrictions upon what you can do with it.

* Is there any reason either Yammer or wiggio couldn't intergrate their services with Twitter now?
Not really.

* Does Twitter forbid the use of its API if the third-party is monetizing their service?

* Is it a license issue more than a technical one?
There's no license issue.

The problem with the paid account approach is that Twitter can't make enough money at it. The best estimate I've seen is that there are about 10,000 "power users" that get enough value out of twitter that they'd pay $20/month for the service -- the vast majority of users would not pay. That's a $2.4M/year business, which won't even cover the cost of their servers.

Charging for API access is an even worse proposition. There probably aren't 100 customers out there with applications that would justify paying an API fee. Can anyone name a Twitter application that is monetizing in a significant way? Now take a small slice of that and you've got Twitter's potential cut.

Paul Chaney

You raise an excellent point John (well, two, actually, one referring to me as an SMG...ha, ha). If Twitter has no discernable business model, why don't they take the money and run. That is, unless they're just very well funded and can hold out for an even bigger paycheck.

I'm telling you, I think Google buys them. As went Blogger, so goes Twitter.

Paul Chaney

Don, once again you come to my rescue with a sound explanation. What, then, is Twitter's business model? My friend Uwe suggested at OMMA Social the Vender Relationship Management model. Now, that I can see as having real possibilities. Vendors would line up to make deals with users and vice-versa, or so it would appear.

Now, to turn things around, if there are no API limitations, why don't Yammer and wiggio tap into the Twitter API? I mean, why completely recreate the wheel?


I've tried this Wiggio application and it is very functional. I am a systems analyst, where I develop custom applications for $40M specialty chemical manufacturer and we will be adopting Wiggio as our main collaboration space within a few months. There are some admin issues that I have addressed with the Wiggio team and they have assured me the developments to take the application aggressively into the small biz and non profits is part of the strategy. I don't think Twitter will be able to keep up!

Paul Chaney

That's my concern. If others capitalize on Twitter's lack of action, where does that leave them? However, the more I think about it, the more I believe Evan and Biz will come out with something that will leave us all a bit aghast.


Twitter is great because it's simple and I don't think wiggio would make it to the general public.

Also I think Twitter has options to monetize its user base. Just take the example (which I already shared on Marketing Profs)

I feel like there are more and more tinyurls in the tweets I receive. Without twitter the tinyurl service has very little value. Also tinurl has already 3M monthly, i.e > 50% of twitter.

Maybe an embedded version of tinyurl with highly targeted premium advertising would be a profitable option. You know who is building the url, its network and the content of the destination site. I can do much better than adwords ( current ads on tinyurl) on this :-)

There is still huge opportunities in relevance targeting without going into the (Facebook like) behavioral trap.

Twitter also has other similar opportunities by owning more of the info chain.


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