However, some developers think the real issue is that Twitter, with its new focus on aggressively growing its revenue ahead of a possible initial public offering (IPO), now finds that having third-party Twitter client applications could dilute its ad revenue generation efforts.
"Twitter is under enormous pressure from its investors to raise revenue in time to take advantage of the IPO window opening up for social networking sites. Unfortunately, there are signs that Twitter views third party developers as competitors for their ad dollars," said Adam Green, a Boston-based Twitter developer, whose applications include 2012twit.com, a Twitter dashboard for the 2012 Presidential election.
Roelands holds a similar view. "Twitter's ability to make money in the future is going to be about getting as many ads as possible in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Every person using a non-Twitter client is a person who's probably not going to see those ads. Ergo, Twitter wants to be able to shut those clients down if they so choose," Roelands said.
Instead, Twitter should nurture developers, because their success will in turn help Twitter, Green said. "Twitter should make it an integral part of its business model to turn the third party into business partners. When third party developers make money, Twitter should make money, and vice versa," he said.
Still, Sarver maintains that plenty of opportunities exist for third-party developers in the Twitter platform.
As examples of developers who are taking advantage of existing opportunities, Sarver cited SocialFlow's publisher tools, Klout's application which crunches Twitter data to generate individual reputation scores and HootSuite and Seesmic, which let businesses monitor their brand mentions on Twitter and act accordingly.
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