Next on the Twitter kill list may be video hosting services

twitter api restrictions

Twitter has been busy bringing its technology in-house at the expense of the third-party developers that have built a business around Twitter’s ecosystem. Now, according to AllThingD, the latest feature to be brought under Twitter’s proprietary wing is video hosting, meaning third-party hosting services like TwitVid, VodPod, and yFrog could soon be on the outs. 

Just a few months ago, Twitter instigated an uproar from developers and users when the company placed restrictions on its API. Companies like Tweetcaster, Tweetbot, UberSocial, and others suddenly became limited to the number of calls and users they can support using Twitter’s API. Image posting services were one of the first clients to lose Twitter support, so  it was only a matter of time before third party video hosting services were subject to the same fate.

We’ve known and watched as Twitter streamlined its services to provide that “consistent experience” for its users across platforms. And while these actions anger the ecosystem, Twitter’s strategy does make sense for the company’s bottom line. 

“As our users were starting to adopt Twitter on more than one platform… we realized we have to have a consistent owned and operated experience,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo explained to Charlie Rose last month.

To put it simply, advertisers can get a better bang for their buck if more eyeballs are on Twitter through sponsored accounts and promoted tweets, which otherwise would get filtered out by third-party services — and now it’s time to target video services that are hurting this cause. A Twitter-branded video service keeps yet more content within Twitter. 

Like Storify, Klout, and Hootsuite, third-party platforms like YouTube, Hulu, and Vimeo might be the exceptions to the unsupported third-party video services. We suspect Twitter’s reasoning is the fact that YouTube, Hulu and Vimeo are platforms for creative and quality long-form content (as well as original programming), and not necessarily the more casual videos that are often uploaded using services like Twitvid. It seems very unlikely that Twitter would completely restrict URLs linking to third-party hosted videos and images from its site. After all, it’s a resource intensive endeavor (even for Twitter) to build and manage a video hosting service, not to mention an expensive venture considering hosting videos will more than likely be free for users.

For now, Twitter hasn’t come to an official decision to cut out third-party video hosting services, according to the report. But if it’s recent actions are any indication, it seems only natural Twitter would introduce its own client. 


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