API rules force Twitter clients to hike prices

4 Dec 2012
Tweetro+

Windows Store app relaunches at £6.99, blaming Twitter's API restrictions

A Windows 8 Twitter client crippled by the social network's new API rules has relaunched as a paid app - part of a growing trend.

Tweetro was one of the many Twitter clients affected by new API rules that limit each to a maximum of 100,000 user tokens. After hitting that number, developer Lazyworm Applications chose to pull the app from the Windows Store and relaunch it as Tweetro+ - with a £6.99 price tag.

"Had these restrictions not been imposed on us, we'd be more than happy to continue distributing the app freely as the exposure we've received from doing so has been amazing," said the company on its website.

"Unfortunately, the circumstances have forced us to put a price tag on it to justify ongoing development. Of course, these restrictions also apply to Tweetro+ meaning we'll only ever be able to distribute it to a limited number of people."

In a Q&A below the post, the developer adds that "on top of this, Microsoft will be taking up to 30% of our revenue".

That £6.99 price allows users to run two Twitter accounts from within the app, with a further three available via an in-app purchase.

Precedent

Tweetro+ isn't the first to take the paid-for route. Developer Tapbots ran into the same roadblock with its popular Tweetbot client.

When it launched Tweetbot for Mac in October, eyebrows were raised at its £13.99 price, but the developers claimed the new user limit left it no option.

"This limit and our desire to continue to support the app once we sell out is why we’ve priced Tweetbot for Mac a little higher than we’d like. It’s the best thing we can do for the long term viability of the product," the company said on its blog.

"We know some will not be happy about Tweetbot for Mac’s pricing, but the bottom line is Twitter needs to provide us with more tokens for us to be able to sell at a lower the price. We spent a year developing this app and it’s the only way for us to be able to make our money back and continue supporting it with updates in the future."

Tapbots further justified the £13.99 figure, saying "that has been the price point for quality utility apps on the Mac for years".

The imposition of a hard limit means developers now know how much money per user they need to make to cover their costs. With advertising unpopular among Twitter users, paid-for Twitter apps could well become the norm.

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