Twitter has told third-party developers straight-up what it has been implying for months: Don’t build Twitter clients. In a message on the company’s developer forum, Twitter’s Ryan Sarver states: “Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no.”
Sarver’s reasoning is similar to that of co-founder Evan Williams who a year ago defended the company’s decision to launch its own clients for the Blackberry and iPhone by saying that users had been confused by the number of clients available.
In his note today, Sarver says: “Our user research shows that consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions. For example, people get confused by websites or clients that display tweets in a way that doesn’t follow our design guidelines, or when services put their own verbs on tweets instead of the ones used on Twitter.”
The company says that existing third-party client can continue to serve their users — but it will be holding them to “high standards.” Indeed, last month, Twitter suspended three mobile clients owned by UberMedia, claiming they violated the company’s policies. After UberMedia made some changes, including renaming UberTwitter as UberSocial, they were reinstated.