For those, yes you reader, who have read my rantings about Twitter data you may have always noticed my slight worry that third parties may have the rug pulled from under their feet.
The Twitter API is a handy tool and one of the first things published, the reason why was simple to get third parties to build applications and tools around the Twitter data. This in turn raises the user base for Twitter from so many different angles. Perfect for Twitter and perfect for the application (whether that be web, iPhone or enterprise tool) developers.
There’s day coming and I’m not sure anyone really knows when that will be when the API becomes a restricted commodity as a result of Twitter’s evolution lifecycle.
Phase 1 – Get the user base.
Release the API, release the core product and get users. Let anyone build apps and tools around your ecosystem. The more tools the more users. We own the data.
Phase 2 – The initial cherry pick
Now the user base is of a good level using all those tools (developed outside of your budget, thanks guys!) you can now cherry pick. So I’ll take a decent iPhone App, a few analytics platforms and some realtime search platforms. Oh, by the way, we own the data.
Phase 3 – The lockdown begins
Start to pull the reins on the API, it’s usage and how things are reported. Is the core branding used? If not start the closing of the “partnerships”. It may have escaped your mind but we still own the data.
Phase 4 – Total lockdown
We’ve got everything we need. Apps in place and refined to our needs. API now becomes a subscription service (like the current Firehose) and we monetise the data and everything we can do with it.
When’s that day coming?
No one really knows but slowly the small changes are coming. Changes the API terms and conditions, the parting of ways with the LinkedIn deals and the potential “huh” of the possible update of the iPhone app without the third party app naming.
All in all it may mean very little but the alternative is that the true monetisation of the data is about to become apparent. And if you own the data you own the keys to the kingdom.