On Feb 13, 2011, at 13:04 , M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:

> On Sun, 13 Feb 2011 12:18:11 -0600, "Andrew W. Donoho" 
> <andrew.don...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> It is clear from this thread that many developers made, perhaps
>> unwisely, product plans based on Twitter's continued support for white
>> listing. In my case as a client developer, the increase of my API
>> count from 150/hour to 350/hour due to moving to OAuth totally removed
>> my need for white listing. If user streams was supported, I could
>> easily live with 150/hour limit. If they would stand behind their user
>> streams API, I would switch to it immediately. (Beta status is not,
>> frankly, good enough. If they cannot make a commitment to their new
>> API, why should I? By my count, user streams has been in beta for
>> almost 6 months.)
> User Streams is in fact in production and has been for months. The only 
> restrictions on User Streams, other than what's documented in the technical 
> documentation, is that it is *only* for desktop *clients*, not servers or 
> mobile. I'm not sure where iPad fits in this spectrum, but for sure an iPhone 
> is mobile.
> *Site* Streams is designed for servers and it is still in beta. Perhaps you 
> need to be pitching your idea to Twitter and adapting your service to Site 
> Streams if it's a server-backed app, which I'm guessing an iPhone/iPad app 
> would be.

Mr. Borasky,

        Any API where the very first line in the schema section says it is 
"subject to change" is not, in fact, in production. Now it may be due to sloppy 
documentation but I doubt it. Twitter's documentation process has become much 

        IOW, user streams is in beta. If it is production worthy, then Twitter 
should commit to it. This API, until they version the route, should no longer 
be subject to change.

>> That said, Twitter's API evolution
>> practices, presumably approved by their CTO, Mr. Sarver, are not, in
>> my opinion, helping their partners grow with Twitter.
> [snip]
>> Another example is the closed roll-out of promoted tweets. I think
>> every third party app developer would love to find a way to further
>> monetize their Twitter application. Twitter did announce that they
>> would find a way to allow their developer partners to participate with
>> the promoted tweets program. That has not yet happened. Currently, as
>> Twitter has made a floor price of $0.00 for iOS apps, I have to resort
>> to Apple's iAds to capture revenue from my labors. I don't mind but it
>> does cut my other market-making partner, Twitter, out of the revenue
>> stream. As it reduces my revenue opportunities, I think this is
>> sub-optimal. I win when my partner wins.
> The key word in this rant is "partner".

Let me be very clear. The term "rant" was applied by the opening poster. 

I am pointing out what I think are concrete issues which we all, as business 
partners with Twitter should consider. That is not a rant.

> A *partner* is, IMHO, someone who has a *formal* partnership arrangement. 
> Sure, there's a certain formality when you accept Twitter's TOS, but I think 
> if you want to use Site Streams or Promoted content, you should be 
> negotiating as a business with Twitter as a business. What's in it for 
> Twitter?

The ToS is a contract. I've also based my business on Twitter's APIs. I view 
the APIs and other aspects of the relationship I have with Twitter to 
effectively be a partnership. Twitter, as the senior partner in this 
relationship, barely knows I exist.

As to what's in it for Twitter? They have support a public API because it makes 
their product better. And they do want people like me making their and my 
product better.

> Twitter has built a powerful brand. I was there in early 2007 when the vast 
> majority of pundits predicted that it would go nowhere - that it was just a 
> bunch of Ruby hackers with too much time on their hands, that it would 
> destroy flow, etc. It's now one of the top ten sites world wide according to 
> Alexa. If you want to be a "partner" with Twitter, *you* are the one who 
> needs to have something to offer *them* IMHO.

And, I believe I do. I suspect that you believe you offer them value and vice 
versa or you would not waste your time on this list. This email and those of 
other developers do improve their product. Every bug discovered helps their 

Are we suckers? Perhaps. Overall, I have profited from this arrangement. I wish 
Twitter well and I hope they improve their relationship with the developer 

> [snip]
>> Overall, everyone needs to remember that we are dealing with a
>> company that publicly claims to not yet be trying to capture revenue
>> from their platform.
> I seem to have missed that claim. As far as I know, they *are* trying to 
> capture revenue through a combination of Promoted Accounts, Tweets and Trends 
> with bundled analytics and data licensing.

"Stone, reacting to a question from TechEye, said that there was still so much 
the company wanted to do, including proving that it had a viable financial and 
sales profile."

OK, so I misremembered the quote. What is clear is that they haven't even 
proven to themselves that they have a business.

>> What do I want? I want a better developer experience. Both Apple and
>> Microsoft show what a good experience can be. I want user streams, a
>> promoted tweet API and annotations. I hope Twitter can deliver these
>> technical features to enable new business opportunities for themselves
>> and the Twitter app ecosystem. Myself included.
> I think you have User Streams, though it may not be suitable for your 
> specific application. You may be eligible to get in the Site Streams beta, 
> although I'm guessing that was invite-only. You can always ask - as a 
> business negotiating a partnership with another business.

As I say above, user streams is not in production. Yes, they just have to 
remove a single sentence and declare it done but they haven't done that. Mature 
engineering organizations do promote items formally to production. As my app 
does not need user streams, I can wait until they are ready to commit to it. It 
is a modest extension of my code. As white listing was one of those "nether" 
commitments, I am not surprised that it has been withdrawn. Site streams may be 
what all of the white list dependent folks need. But, Twitter canceled white 
listing without making site streams widely available. That is an example of an 
API evolutionary stumble.

> We'll have to wait and see about the Promoted products. Advertising sales is 
> a fiercely competitive business and it's not something I personally want to 
> deal with at the moment.

The point of Twitter encouraging me to show promoted tweets, as they said was 
their goal, is to enhance each or our revenue streams. They do the sales and I 
do the display. Seems pretty easy to me.

> Annotations? That was definitely a case where Twitter's reach seems to have 
> exceeded its grasp. The story I've heard is that there are people in Twitter 
> hacking away on it but the priorities do get adjusted according to the 
> demands of the marketplace. If it could be a breakthrough spam killer, I 
> think they'd push it front and center in a big hurry. ;-)

A mature engineering organization backs away from things they aren't going to 
do. Fortunately, my business does not depend upon annotations. I could do 
interesting things with annotations.

Let me be very clear. Twitter is a great resource. Could they be a great 
company? Perhaps. But to be a great company means you have great partners. If 
you look at Apple, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, great companies all, they have 
significant partner ecosystems. Those partners make those companies great -- 
and vice versa.

Andrew W. Donoho
Donoho Design Group, L.L.C.
a...@ddg.com, +1 (512) 750-7596

"We did not come to fear the future. 
    We came here to shape it."

-- President Barack Obama, Sept. 2009

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