In case you didn’t know TweetMiner was suspended from the Twitter API yesterday. For more on that, see this thread here. This was as a result of TweetMiner breaking a few of their automation related rules determined by the API policy team.
I believe that TweetMiner hit Twitter’s radar due to this rather pompous and self righteous post over here that gained some traction on the interwebs yesterday. Prior to that Twitter had probably never heard of TweetMiner.
Twitters immediate reaction was to suspend TweetMiner without warning. This was devastating for me, my 3000+ registered users, and my 94 paying customers. I honestly felt that everything I’d been working toward for the past 5-6 months was going all going to be in vain.
I’m playing in Twitter’s sandpit and they have the rights to play and treat me any way they see fit. As far as I knew – at that point – Twitter did not care about me, my business or my users.
So then some interesting things started to happen.
But then after submitting an appeal to revoke application suspension and waiting for a grueling 24 hours Twitter responded via their zendesk help system. It essentially said I was in breach of a number of technicalities according to their API policies. For the full transcript see yesterdays post.
I didn’t care about or mind removing the “Friend Finder > Follow All” which was almost but not quite automated friend adding. I also didn’t mind removing the rather clever “Custom Signature” feature that allowed people to register an app and plug it into TweetMiner so that they could have a custom signature on Twitter (in place of the app name). Both of these features were just add ons and not part of the core value of TweetMiner.
However this was the item that deeply worried me The Scheduled Automatic RSS Feature is still in violation of our Automation Rules
Scheduling tweets via RSS is the very reason TweetMiner exists and the reason that I have 94 paying customers. It is the foundation of my start-up. My USP.
So. I made all the changes that twitter requested and then sent them back a response saying and I quote..
The core aspect of my business revolves around this feature. My entire start-up revolves around it! Not to mention the promises I’ve made to my wife and my techzing listeners of being able to build a sustainable start-up based on twitter.
If you can’t definitively tell me that I am allowed to have an rss scheduling feature in tweetminer then I will have no choice but to shut the business down.
For example it wouldn’t be acceptable for you to just, turn a blind eye, and allow me to use RSS scheduling. I need to know one way or another (in writing) in order to make a definitive decision whether to continue to build my start-up on twitter or not.
Twitter sent back the following response…
I appreciate your willingness to cooperate with us, as such we can allow you to have the Scheduled RSS feature under the condition that you ensure that your users are not using your application to spam Twitter. If we start noticing too many posts sent through TweetMiner being flagged as spam then we will have to suspend the token again. So if you notice spammers using TweetMiner it will be in all of our best interests if you report them as it will improve the overall Twitter ecoysystem. Thanks, and we apologize for any headaches today may have caused you. I look forward to working with you going forward.
This signifies something quite remarkable for a company with a one billion dollar valuation to do. With this message not only are they intoning that they value what I do, and that they care about my customers, but they are willing to go against their own rules and take a risk on me and my business.
In this instance Twitter has shown understanding that rules and policies do have grey areas and that not everyone should be tarred with the same brush. That doesn’t sound like the kind of corporate line that I’m used to.
If Twitter can maintain this kind of integrity over the coming years then, perhaps, they may be able to run with the concept that Google championed (and lost) “do no evil”.
I’m surprised and impressed with Twitter today, and I’m glad to be playing in their sandpit – they play fair.