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The demise of News.me: an ominous sign for API developers

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26 October 2012

News.me Discontinued

This week the best of Twitter aggregator app News.me announced that the app will be discontinued. This saw everyone immediately drumming up rumours that Twitter might have cut them off, as they’ve become accustomed to do as of late.

The true reason, in their own words, behind News.me’s demise is not as sensational, but has far-reaching implications for everyone building apps on Twitter:

“We don’t want to invest time and energy into an application that competes with a platform on which it relies.”

What does it mean to compete with Twitter?

After enjoying a healthy first few years as an almost completely open platform, Twitter shifted boundaries about what “open” exactly means. In Twitter’s case, they themselves supplied a very generic platform, with the development community around them figuring out the use cases, and adding new functionality. Twitter just had to pick the lowest hanging fruit.

Then, when it became time to make money, Twitter decided to go the route that Google & Facebook took, by becoming an advertising medium. To do this, they have to control media – in this case tweets.

This puts potentially all developers utilising the Twitter API, who use it to pull tweets from twitter and display it to users to as wide as audience as possible to sell advertising, in competition with Twitter. In other words, if we were Storify, we’d be worried. If you are Radian6 we would not.

This is why News.me, a brilliant, flourishing app, decided to close shop.

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