Twitter appears to be on a roll in terms of angering developers, as its official iPhone and Android clients are providing stiff competition and it has made a few changes to its platform in the name of “ecosystem clarity.” It has banned the use of third-party ad networks in apps and clients in favor of its forthcoming “Promoted Tweets” model.
This means companies like Echofon or Seesmic, which use the Twitter API, cannot inject ads in the stream. This could be a devastating blow to these companies because there’s no real way to know if Twitter’s advertising solution will be successful. Nevertheless, the micro-blogging service believes the long-term potential of Promoted Tweets is worth more than the short term revenue from ads.
“First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform … ” the company said in its blog. “Secondly, the basis for building a lasting advertising network that benefits users should be innovation, not near-term monetization. Twitter is uniquely dependent on and responsible for the long-term health and value of the platform.”
This one’s tough to call folks because the development ecosystem has led to some innovative products that have made the service near-mainstream. At the same time, the company is finally growing up and trying to make some money – that often requires difficult decisions that may not be popular at the moment. The company is also correct that the long-term engagement and experience of Twitter is more important than some revenue from certain apps.
Still, when you anger the devs in your ecosystem you risk losing these smart minds to other platforms and services. This could damage the micro-blogging company in the long run because it will miss out on the innovations that come from third parties.