Twitter has been a little selfish lately. Last week they added Tumblr to their list of exes (joining Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram among others) and there are many more break-ups on the horizon.
One company that seems to still have Twitter’s favor is HootSuite. Their partnership offers valuable insight about what types of third-party providers will continue to be able to tap into the Twitter API.
What is the qualitative difference between Twitter’s left and right quadrants?
In his most recent post on the Twitter developer’s blog, Michael Sippey establishes criteria for most favored nation status with Twitter. Sippey introduces a four-quadrant scenario analysis where analysis vs. engagement is plotted against businesses vs. consumers. Sippey identifies the upper right quadrant (consumer tools used for engaging Twitter’s content) as the content they are targeting to ramp down access to. Here’s how he describes the sinister upper right hand quadrant:
“In the upper right-hand quadrant are services that enable users to interact with Tweets, like the Tweet curation service Storify or the Tweet discovery site Favstar.fm.
That upper-right quadrant also includes, of course, “traditional” Twitter clients like Tweetbot and Echofon. Nearly eighteen months ago, we gave developers guidance that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” And to reiterate what I wrote in my last post, that guidance continues to apply today.”
Yet in the case of freemium-based HootSuite, most of their users fall into the upper right hand quadrant proving the perfect foil for Twitter’s intentions. HootSuite should probably fall squarely into the upper right hand quadrant, yet their presence in the upper left-hand quadrant (businesses engaging on Twitter) makes them a valued partner. It reminds me of something…..
The part of Twitter will be played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Tom Cruise as HootSuite)
TechCrunch and AllTwitter both report that Twitter is now leveraging HootSuite to promote their advertising tools. 30,000 HootSuite Pro users will receive $100 in credits for Twitter advertising. Why do companies such as Radian6 and HootSuite get a pass for replicating the user experience while tools like Echofon and Storify don’t? Because they have a qualified user base with money to burn on advertising.
In other words, the delivery of a consistent Twitter experience must be coupled with the delivery of an advertising experience. The delivery of a tailored tool is contingent upon creating the advertising experience.
It’s not a great position to take for users or developers, but give them credit. At least Twitter is being transparent about their new pay-to-play model.