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Summary:

Tapbots explained the $20 price tag on its heavily anticipated Mac Twitter client by blaming Twitter’s “token limits,” set forth this past summer, which effectively cap how many users their Mac client can have.

Tweetbot for Mac/ Tapbots

After navigating Twitter’s drastic rule changes for third-party developers set forth this summer, the much-anticipated Mac Twitter client, Tweetbot, is now available for sale in the Mac App Store, the company behind it announced on its website Thursday. The app comes with an eyebrow-raising price of $20. Even though it’s from Tapbots, the same people behind Tweetbot for iOS, which is well-regarded for its design skills, that makes the Mac client quite a bit more expensive than the average Twitter client, many of which are free or less than $5.

But Tapbots says it had little choice. Tapbots is just one of the developers trying to work within Twitter’s new framework that severely limits the access third-party clients like theirs have to the Twitter API. There was a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth among Twitter client developers this past summer when the company announced these restrictions, which are meant to encourage the use of official Twitter apps instead of third-party clients.

Tapbots explained the $20 price tag on the app by blaming Twitter’s “token limits,” which effectively cap how many users their Mac client can have:

Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter, we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users. Tapbots will continue to support Tweetbot for Mac for existing customers at that time.

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. 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.

The company’s Tweetbot app for iOS is $2.99, but the token limits are not as low for iOS apps as for Mac apps.

Tapbots is so concerned about being able to add new customers and not hit those Twitter-imposed limits that it’s even asking users who participated in the app’s beta that don’t want to use the final version to revoke access to the app so the token can be used immediately by someone else.

  1. It’s a shame that Twitter puts these kinds of restrictions on developers, especially when Tapbots makes best-of-platform Twitter clients for iOS and now OS X.

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    1. It’s not a shame. It’s a business decision. Just the way Appl would patent a unique way to sneeze e.g. “standing on 1 leg – then – 2 legs – then jumping a bit – then – sneeze turning right slowly at 45 degrees”

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  2. Why doesn’t twitter sell the tokens to developers. Free market. They are a business right? Sell something other than ads.

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  3. We should remember that while Twitter is very cool, it’s not making a lot of money – they have a platform that’s difficult to monetize. I think the solution is to expand more into the corporate sector where they can charge for token, as Douglas suggested.

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  4. Darrin Searancke Friday, October 19, 2012

    $20 question – is Tweetbot for Mac worth it …?

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  5. Darrin: I would only like Plume better (and even that is questionable since it’s not supported for anything other than android). Tweetbot is a very good client. Not perfect, but very good.

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  6. Yes I bought it, but I feel like I am supporting Twitters anti-customer behavior.

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