Twitter appears to have put the nail in the coffin for any indie developer running a Twitter-based app. Credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Twitter has officially announced its brand new API plans for developers. And looking over the details, it’s clear Elon Musk sees indie developers as acceptable losses in Twitter’s latest cash grab.
Unfortunately but not unexpectedly, a slew of indie developers have already announced they’d have to shut down their Twitter-based apps due to the new pricing. After all, how many indie developers can afford $42,000 per month?
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) On Wednesday, the official Twitter Developer account shared(Opens in a new tab) details regarding pricing of its new API plan. The API basically provides third-party applications and developers with access to the social media platform’s data and features. The company also emailed details of the new AI plan to developers.
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) According to Twitter, free access to the API will only allow(Opens in a new tab) developers to write 1,500 tweets per month. The new free tier of the API no longer includes the ability for developers to access tweets, only create them.
To compare, Twitter’s old free plan, called “Elevated,” currently allows developers to access 2 million tweets per month.
Twitter offers two plans at wildly different price pointsAs for the paid(Opens in a new tab) plan, there is one tier called Basic, which Twitter classifies as being for hobbyists or students. This plan costs $100 per month and only allows access to 10,000 tweets per month. One can also write 50,000 tweets per month with this plan.
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) Again, this new paid plan is much less than the previous free plan’s limits. Most apps using the Twitter API that have a few regular users are going to exceed these limits rather quickly, if they aren’t already.
So, what’s the next step up? The Enterprise plans, which Mashable previously reported on, which start at $42,000 per month.
That’s right. There’s currently no announced plan between the $100 per month Basic tier and the $42,000 per month starting price for the Enterprise plans. As of now, if you outgrow the $100 plan, you’ll need to upgrade to the $42,000 per month plan.
The email from Twitter sent to developers breaking down the subscription options for Twitter’s new API plans. Credit: Mashable Screenshot
Elon Musk says the new API pricing is being implemented to kill off the bots, but looking at the reaction on Twitter, it’s more like armageddon for any indie developer who runs actually useful Twitter apps. Numerous developers have already announced that the new API pricing structure basically forces them to shut down their Twitter-based apps.
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) “With new Twitter API prices I’m sad to announce the end of TwittExplorer ????,” tweeted @Pauline_Cx(Opens in a new tab).
Tweet may have been deleted (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab) “Updated my Twitter bio to reflect current events,” tweeted @adamlyttleapps(Opens in a new tab), alongside a screenshot of his new Twitter bio indicating he will no longer be working on his TopFollowers.io Twitter app.
Many apps will change or disappear completelyDevelopers running apps that use the Twitter API, but are not entirely based on it, also announced some major changes.
“This is sad ????,” tweeted @SimonHoiberg(Opens in a new tab), who runs a social media management app called FeedHive. “To all of our Twitter users, I apologize for the inconvenience! $42,000/month is simply beyond what we consider financially viable or reasonable to pay.”
The FeedHive founder followed up his post with a tweet from his app’s official Twitter profile announcing that they would have to remove Twitter from the social media platforms that can be managed via its app.
As of Thursday afternoon, one Slack community for Twitter app developers to discuss these changes already ballooned to more than 700 members. At publishing time, only five app developers said they could afford to stay open under Twitter’s planned API changes.
Killing off the third-party app ecosystem is a shortsighted move from Musk and company. Many of these apps encourage more usage of the Twitter platform by making it easier for users to create more content.
Some apps like @remotejoeclark(Opens in a new tab)’s Twitter HP, motivated users to use Twitter more by allowing them to better track their analytics on the platform. Unfortunately, Twitter’s new API pricing plan has now killed his app.
And unlike some others who are waiting to see what happens as Twitter closes the old API access over the next 30 days, @remotejoeclark was forced to shut down his app and issue refunds to customers immediately. Why? Because he upgraded to the new Basic API plan as soon as he could and Twitter immediately locked him out because the app already had exceeded that month’s tweet allotment under the prior API offering. At that point, he already had to make a choice: pay $42,000 or close up shop.
How much do indie developers earn?Many indie developers don’t make all that much from their apps. On Twitter, you’ll often find developers trying to hit a goal of making $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, or maybe even $10,000 per month from their project in the hopes of being able to make it a self-sustaining full-time job.
At $42,000, Twitter is not just making those goals unattainable for indie developers, it’s also making its chances at a profitable future more difficult too. By killing the very tools that make people want to use the platform.
Third-party developers will now just move on to other platforms that are more friendly to their needs. And while there, they’ll create the tools that users want, making Twitter’s social media competitors more popular.
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