Remember when Twitter said that client-app developers would need to “work with us directly” and “need our permission” to exceed 100,000 user-login tokens?
Well, now we know what that means. Atta Elayyan, developer of the Tweetro client for Windows 8, sent Windows Observer the result of his attempt to get Twitter’s permission. Here’s what the quadrant robot at Twitter wrote:
Thank you for reaching out to get clarification on our developer policies. As you know, we discourage developers from building apps that replicate our core user experience (aka “Twitter clients”). We know that there are developers that want to take their passion for Twitter and its ecosystem to unique underserved situations. As such, we have built some flexibility into our policy with regard to user tokens – which went into effect September 5th, 2012.”
… Unfortunately, It does not appear that your service addresses an area that our current or future products do not already serve. As such, it does not qualify for an exemption.
In other words: “Even though we don’t currently have a Windows 8 client, we might have one in the future, so yours isn’t allowed.”
The wording of the supposed “rule” that permits apps addressing “unique underserved situations” is so vague, especially since being “served” includes potentially being served by Twitter’s future products, that it’s effectively meaningless.
Now we know: “work with us directly” means “die”.
The real rule, if Twitter was honest and direct, is simple: “We don’t permit anyone to exceed the limit unless we feel like it.” But even then, it would be stupid for anyone to build a business on Twitter with such unstable footing. And if your plan is to stay under the 100,000-token limit, you’d be a fool to believe in the safety and longevity of that exemption.
The effective rule, therefore, is even simpler: “Don’t build anything for Twitter.”