The Mac App store has seen a popular third party app for Twitter pulled from its database. This is because it hit a cap that has been set by the social network itself, that ensures that the number of users does not exceed a certain level. Tweetbot for Mac was first launched in October of 2012 and is the next in a long list of apps that has had to have been removed because they have hit the cap. Twitter has created a rule that states any third party app is never allowed to have more than 100,000 users, or the app will be removed.
This rule was established in August of 2012. At that point, Twitter stated that any app that would have more than 100,000 users that are able to access timelines would have to get explicit permission in order to continue to run.
If you are building a Twitter client application that is accessing the home timeline, account settings or direct messages API endpoints (typically used by traditional client applications) or are using our User Streams product, you will need our permission if your application will require more than 100,000 individual user tokens.
When this rule came in, Twitter also launched their “quadrant” guidance. This explained to third party developers what is and isn’t acceptable on their API (application programming interface). Many developers have found it to be incredibly confusing and complicated, which may be why so many apps are being pulled from various app stores.
When the rules were first released, many felt it was a way for Twitter to ensure no third-party clients were able to develop apps. This would, eventually, cause users to only use the official app. One of the main reasons why they would want to do this is because Twitter is not able to put an advertisement on a third-party app, thereby reducing the potential for revenue. Additionally, it cannot control when a third party app will roll out any new features either.
Twitter did try to be fair: they allowed grandfather rules to be set in place for those apps that had already gone over the user count when the new guidance was put in place. In fact, they allowed these developers to nearly double the amount of users they were able to attract. Tweetbot for Mac was launched just after the limit had been set, and it was one of the first high profile apps of its kind.
Much of the Tweetbot for Mac app had already been developed when the new guidelines were released. It was therefore difficult for Tapbots, the developers, who then had to find a way to make sure their efforts would pay off while at the same time not get more than 100,000 users. Controversially, they achieved this by charging $19.99 for their app, which is incredibly high. Considering that Twitter’s own Mac app is completely free, this was a very bold move. However, the company was confident they would sell, and it seems they were right.
Tweetbot is a full-featured Twitter app for the Mac based on the award-winning apps for iPhone and iPad. With retina support, sync via iCloud, and multiple column views, Tweetbot is the premier Twitter app for the Mac.
The app has been available for two and a half years, and since they have reached their maximum number of users, it is clear that Tapbots has earned their money back. Yes, their user base is constrained and Twitter has placed various limitations on what the API is able to do. Nevertheless, users are incredibly happy with what they get with the app and haven’t shown any signs of leaving.