You can forgive the Twitter developer community is this feels a little bit like Twitter is piling on.
Twitter has announced a new Certified Products Program that already has a dozen partners on board — companies like Topsy, HootSuite, SocialFlow, Radian6 and ExactTarget (among others). Although some of the partners (HootSuite and SocialFlow) have products that allow their users to create and consume tweets, traditional third-party Twitter clients are notably missing at the moment.
With the Certified Products program, Twitter is giving its stamp of approval to third-party products in three categories: Engagement, Analytics and Data Resellers.
Partners are required to follow the program requirements, which include the “Developer Rules of the Road” that Twitter spelled out a couple weeks ago when it pre-announced version 1.1 of its API. Specific guidelines for the Certified Products program are listed as follows on Twitter’s developer website:
- Make Twitter more valuable to businesses and solve a need that Twitter does not address
- Help bring Twitter to new or underserved markets
- Twitter is a core part of your product and you make use of all applicable APIs and features
- Integrations behave as consistently as possible with Twitter’s own products
- Encourage meaningful engagement with the Twitter network
- You are working on an opportunity with significant impact
- Use Twitter Platform products rather than creating similar products
Some observers are already expressing doubts about the Certified Products program (“…the team at Twitter have put together a flawless plan for the future: badges and jargon.”) and, if you’re a developer, it may look like a case of piling on at this point. But it should be perfectly clear by now that Twitter has a very specific business path in mind, and it wants outside developers to fit into that path if they want to continue being part of the overall Twitter ecosystem. Certified Products further explains what types of services Twitter is looking for from third parties, and further stakes Twitter’s own claim on tweets and the tweet experience.