So, after spending all day, trying to get UberTwitter (a third-party Twitter app, for Blackberry) to work. I got home, connected my phone to my WiFi, to a message saying UberTwitter has been suspended for breaking policies, or something. UberTwitter was the most popular Twitter client for Blackberry mobile devices, eclipsing Twitter’s very own official application.
Twitter say that UberMedia(owner of UberTwitter, Twidroyd and just recently TweetDeck) broke various terms of service, and are now suspended. The accusations are using unauthorised trademarks (Twitter in the name of a product), changing details within messages (this has not been made too public, but appears to be related to changing links or something) and a site used to post longer tweets (tmi.me) posts private tweets publicly. Now whilst this looks serious, you also wonder, why was the service suspended before UberMedia had a chance to do anything?
When my phone is operational (ahem O2), I am a very heavy ‘tweeter’ from my phone. I did initially try the official Twitter app, but found it very slow and non-working, so switched to UberTwitter, which was so much faster and easier to use. Now, when the service was suspended only two tweets appeared on Ubertwitter, and both where @support. One advised me that UberTwitter was suspended, the other was trying to get me to download the official Twitter app for Blackberry.
This, to me, seemed a little suspicious. Almost as if the suspension of UberTwitter was tactical, to push more people onto the official services. Within 12 hours of the suspension, UberMedia announced that UberTwitter was coming back as UberSocial, and that it just needed approval from the BB app store. So it looks as if things will return to normality soon.
It is thought that as many as 25% of tweets are sent through UberMedia’s applications, which makes it a hefty risk taking them off. You could end up leaving users disappointed, and they will leave Twitter completely. Or you could push them onto another third-party service, such as OpenBeak.
People are saying that this is another indication of the impending pop of the current internet ‘bubble’. With Twitter recently being a considered by both Google and Facebook owners for a rumoured $10 billion, people started to get worried. Many business and technology watchers find this evaluation of the micro-blogging site to be a little ‘steep’. And the over enthusiastic pricing, could be a sign that the internet is about to go down the toilet. Whether that happens or not, the big issue is that if Twitter are interested of getting a high price for the service, then they need to control where they lose money. Much like any business, you find where you are not maximizing profit. and you fix it. Here, Twitter was losing out on millions of dollars because another company was acting as a ‘messenger’ between twitter and the customer (end product). So twitter, revoke the licenses for the biggest ‘messenger’ service, to try to get people to use their own, in-house ‘messenger’.
It seems a little confusing, but I can see why the staff at Twitter would be forced to try to stop these companies profiting from their losses. After all, you will not get the highest price if your business plan (and profit) isn’t watertight.
It doesn’t take much looking on the internet to see what people’s opinions are of Twitter since the UberMedia issue. And it looks very negatively in the light of Twitter. Most of the thoughts are, that if Twitter had better applications of its own, and proper support for them, then they wouldn’t need to ban anything. Maybe Twitter should work on what it has, rather than attacking those who essentially bring business to their site.