Twitter Shuts Down StatTweets

from the so-much-for-being-open... dept

You just knew this would happen. A week after we wrote about how Twitter's openness towards third party developers helped build up its reputation and the willingness of developers to work with it, a story comes out contradicting the main point of the original story. Via Techmeme, we learn that Twitter shut down a service called StatTweets from a company called StatSteet, that provided stats on various sports teams. Since then, Twitter has apparently been quite unresponsive to the developer in his attempts to resolve the issue. Twitter did outline three causes for killing his accounts, though none seem particularly convincing.

There's a copyright claim on the logos, though you could make a pretty strong argument that the use of the logos is legit (there may be some extenuating circumstances, but it doesn't sound like any sports teams complained -- and the guy says he's willing to change the logos if that's the problem). Second, was a complaint about "mass creation" of new accounts. This is obviously to stop spammers. But it's quite clear that StatTweets isn't a spam system, so a quick review should have knocked out that reason. The final reason is if you're accused of "squatting" on a username, but it sounds like the usernames were unique and weren't just the name of various sports teams.

While there's a decent chance that this is an honest mistake on the part of Twitter, it's a sign of some of the growing pains facing the company. I know I've been trying to reach the company about something for the past few weeks and have found it impossible to get any response whatsoever. It's no surprise that employees at the company are busy, given all the attention Twitter has received lately, but the company risked user mutiny a year ago when it had trouble responding to downtime complaints. If it also starts having customer service issues, it again may present an opportunity for people to go elsewhere.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    yozoo, May 5th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Twitter Twatter

    This seems like an endlessly confused company to me. They dont even seem terribly clear on the value or benefit thier "product", so confusion in how they are handeling these more esoteric issues is not surprisng to me.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Luís Carvalho, May 5th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Ok...

    Twitter is fun. Usefull. Even provides a solution that wouldn't exist without them.

    It's growing TOO fast. I imagine they must have severe problems with personnel.

    Also, I don't see how can they make money. I don't see adds.

    The money to keep this going must come from somewhere... Is it enough to pay for more employees?

    They must be really in trouble. Just today, I received 6 followers notices, but when I went to check those profiles to decide upon placing a follow on them too, none of them existed anymore.

    This can mean, that they are being seriously spammed, or, they have over aggressive spam filters. Or, even both.

    Anyway, I failed to find any alternative, even comparable to Twitter, so far. If there is, please, point me there...

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    yozoo, May 5th, 2009 @ 12:35pm

    Re:

    "Twitter is fun. Usefull. Even provides a solution that wouldn't exist without them."

    ok fun is subjective so Ill give you that one. Usefull though? Maybe, but for what? Finally "provides a solution"? A solution to what, what problem has Twitter solved?

    Im not coming down on Twitter guys I can see the value for someone who can maintain a "community", and I can see some value in it as a messaging service (although there are plenty of other solutions for that as well). In the end though, what I mainly see is a 21st century rubics cube. Something that seems vaguely interesting and is certainly very popular at the moment, but for reasons that no one seems to actually be able to articulate.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Evil Mike, May 5th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re:

    If you're unable too see the unique usefulness in something, does that mean there must be no usefulness in it?

    Think harder, you may eventually come to the correct answer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 5th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Usefull though? Maybe, but for what? Finally "provides a solution"? A solution to what, what problem has Twitter solved?

    Personally, Twitter has been tremendously useful to me on a variety of fronts: it's enabled me to stay in closer contact with many friends and family in a way that I couldn't do otherwise.

    It's also been quite useful as a sort of real-time information system, much more effective and useful for tracking news than an RSS reader.

    It's also been quite useful in reaching out to companies (when those companies participate on Twitter). I've found that it works much better than using channels like email or phone. Customer service via Twitter has been amazing.

    Finally, it's been really useful as a way for me to connect with and chat with people concerning Techdirt (and to respond to some questions/feedback/complaints).

    It's actually difficult for me to overstate the value that I've found.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    scott, May 5th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    Twitter's Most Ardent Users

    Twiiter use by a person is directly proportional to his/her lack of a life elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Trollificus, May 5th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Ah...

    ...but is it possible for you to overstate how much you would PAY for that value??

    What if it was a network "only of people who were willing to pay X amount for the service".

    How much value lost? And how would that affect your initial valuation of the service?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's also been quite useful in reaching out to companies (when those companies participate on Twitter). I've found that it works much better than using channels like email or phone. Customer service via Twitter has been amazing."

    Except, unfortunately (and only based on the article itself), in the case of Twitter themselves.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Luís Carvalho, May 5th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    You can allways go back to the egg/chicken thing...

    If the problems twitter solves were not felt before twitter, does it solve anything?

    In this case, it does. Twitter provides a simple and easy improvment on email, IM, and RSS all in one solution.

    Value? Can you put a value on email? On IM? On RSS feeds?

    Can you even estimate how much you would be have lost without ANY of those 3 services? Can you estimate how much poorer internet in a whole would be without them?

    After you actualy start USING twitter for anything more then JUST: Hi all, just woke up and wash my mouth.
    You will find a whole new world there. To find easier ways to communicate with companies, to talk with similar interests people, to read news, to stay available to contact, in whatever mean you choose, PC, laptop, phone, without the need to synchronize, copy, backup.

    No you can't put a price on it. And the value is only meaningfull if you are a active user. And on this one, you don't even have to have faith, just a simple account will do :).

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    harls, May 5th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re:

    They provided a solution to a problem we didn't know we didn't have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 5th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except, unfortunately (and only based on the article itself), in the case of Twitter themselves.

    Yup. I recognize the irony there... But for other companies who use it correctly, it works quite well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 5th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Ah...

    ...but is it possible for you to overstate how much you would PAY for that value??

    The problem is that once you make people pay for it, it loses almost all value. The value to me is in the number of other people who use it. Make them pay, they stop using it, which provides me with less value too...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Nahtass, May 5th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Twitter alt

    twitter alternative : identi.ca and laconi.ca

    Good stuff.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Jason, May 5th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Twitter Twatter

    Sounds like they went from consulting a lawyer now and then to having a legal department.

    Too bad they let legal make such a big decision for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    refe, May 5th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    You just need to know why you are using it...

    Twitter is extremely useful if you know what you want to get out of it. It's more open than Facebook or other social networking sites, so I have had the chance to interact with people I would never have had access to otherwise. It is also proved to be a way of keeping people up to date on what's going on at my blog that is much more interactive than RSS.

    A lot of bands and artists are also using it to further engage their fans and are seeing huge success. I tell all of the artists I speak with to get on it and start reaching out to fans. Trent Reznor, Imogen Heap and Matisyahu are three artists in particular that I like to use as examples. Imogen used it recently to promote her 'heapstreams' - live streaming video of her playing the piano and writing music. That's good stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    UI.N. Owen, May 6th, 2009 @ 3:02am

    Twitter

    Google should buy twitter for a billion. That is loose change for them. Youtube costs more to maintain like a white elephant.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 6th, 2009 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Personally, Twitter has been tremendously useful to me on a variety of fronts: it's enabled me to stay in closer contact with many friends and family in a way that I couldn't do otherwise. "

    This is also true of carrier pidgeon, "a way I couldnt do otherwise" doesnt really say anything positive about "the way" your using. So its different then sms, blackberry, email, etc . . . but why is it better, what does it offer that they dont?

    the last 3 things Mike mentions are once again based on a critical mass of "followers". If I had a large community to reach out too and exchange with (like a large business or a movie star, rock band, etc), it would definately make some sense. However the average retail user is not going to be using twitter very long, fee based or not, because they have very little reason to use it at all.

     

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  18.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 6th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So its different then sms, blackberry, email, etc . . . but why is it better, what does it offer that they dont?

    It's non-insistent and brief.

    Ironically, that's what the critics/skeptics latch on to. "Who cares if you had meatloaf today?" And you will encounter that. If @wilw has a particularly good meal, or @mariancall encounters a creepy waiter, they may mention it. It's only vaguely interesting, even to their fans, but it's only about twenty words long. You haven't invested much time, and you've checked in when you had time to spare anyway.

    More productively, it allows people to give minor status updates. I know when @glenncase is sitting in with a different band. I know when @hipsterplease is working on some new project. etc. I am more in touch with these people, because I know what they're up to even when that information doesn't warrant, e.g., a blog post. And they don't even have to know that I'm interested: they just put it out there. If someone only posts about the minutia of their life, I'm going to drop them. If they post about hockey, I'll drop them unless they're @wilw (because he mentions other things that interest me.)

    Twitter is whom you follow.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    nasch, May 6th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Twitter's Most Ardent Users

    That can't be true. I don't use Twitter at all, and my life isn't that interesting. ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 6th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This is also true of carrier pidgeon, "a way I couldnt do otherwise" doesnt really say anything positive about "the way" your using. So its different then sms, blackberry, email, etc . . . but why is it better, what does it offer that they dont?

    Faster, easier, more able to manage communication with a lot more people. The list goes on and on. It's incredibly useful.

    the last 3 things Mike mentions are once again based on a critical mass of "followers".

    Or good search. So, no, it doesn't require a lot of followers.

    the last 3 things Mike mentions are once again based on a critical mass of "followers".

    I dunno. I know people who follow only a very small number of people who love it.

    It is what you make of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Hope, May 8th, 2009 @ 3:56am

    StatTweet???

    Never heard of it until this article headline....Well, if there is anything Twitter is doing that seems irregular, it is probably due to the fact that 'somebody' is going to buy Twitter soon! Can't remember who, Google, Microsoft, er, etc., for $700 mil..so I guess Twitter wants to smooth out the flow for whatever reasons...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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