Welcome back to the weekly Twitter column. The biggest and saddest Twitter news this week was another blow to the Twitter app developer community: Twitter banned all third party stream ads to monopolize advertising for it’s own “featured tweets” ad platform.
While on the one hand, it’s understandable, Google doesn’t allow competing services to sell ads in search results either, on the other hand this a typical measure to stifle competition we all love to hate.
Twitter is biting the hand that feeds them.
One reason while Twitter has grown so fast is that it allowed third parties to add all kinds of functionality to it. While some of them charge users most people don’t pay for Twitter apps and thus many of the software developers rely on advertising. Now their business models are dead over night. Even Twitter clients can’t advertise in their streams or timelines.
Any display of tweets is a stream btw. so it doesn’t matter whether it’s the main Twitter timeline, a list or a search, displaying ads there is forbidden from now on.
Exempt from this new ruling are only ads outside the timeline/stream and privately inserted ads or sponsored tweets, like when you tweet an affiliate links. This is still better than Tumblr e.g which forbids all kinds of affiliate links on its services but it’s basically killing of some software. So the Twitter software business is basically a high risk endeavor now.
- Access to tweets has been limited repeatedly.
- Apps can get banned for all kinds of breaches of the TOS like the Pluggio client has been a few weeks ago for automating too much. Twitter doesn’t want users to unfollow more than a few people at once.
- Now you can’t make money by advertising on Twitter. What comes next?
Business relations rely on trust. How can you trust a company that stabs it’s developer community in the back again and again? I don’t think solely about the developers here. For everyone doing business on Twitter or via Twitter right now: This is the last call to back up your Twitter assets. Like Ning Twitter might decide one day that it wants to sell your Twitter followers or tweets back to you.
For SEOs and marketers the measures by Twitter are also bad news more often now. First they made the “bio” links nofollow, later they crippled all links in your Twitter stream to name the most obvious changes.
Even the average users get annoyed repeatedly. Just last week Twitter decided to block old school “RT” retweets from searches. Any day a change imposed by Twitter might crush your business model. Use Twitter to the max while the party lasts. Be prepared to leave when the party is over.
Other platforms become more and more important these days, both LinkedIn and Facebook for example. Last but not least platform independent business models are gaining foothold again in the highly volatile social media arena. I consider renaming my column to social media weekly. What do you think? Has Twitter jumped the shark?