Jack Dorsey apologizes to developers, asks them to come back

Steven Loeb · October 21, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/40d4

Developers have been unhappy with Twitter since it updated its API with massive restrictions in 2012

Since coming back as CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey's main focus seems have been on making the experience better for users, whether that be creating curated, easier to find content, or giving users an easier way to express themselves. That is understandable, since Twitter's stagnating user numbers are one of the things that sunk Dick Costolo, so getting them on board is key to future success.

There is another group that Twitter also has to appeal to, though, and it's one that might be even harder to appeal to" developers. The company has had a rocky relationship with them ever since it released its updated API in 2012, which put a multitude of restrictions on third-party developers, and limited their access to new users.

Now that Dorsey is back and he wants to make amends, even going so far to directly apologize to them for how they have been treated over the last few years.

“Somewhere along the line, our relationship with developers got confusing, unpredictable,” he said on Wednesday at Twitter Flight, the company's mobile developer conference. It was his first major speech since taking over as interim CEO this past summer. 

“We want to come to you today and apologize for the confusion. We want to reset our relationship and make sure that we’re learning, listening, and that we are rebooting. That’s what today represents. We want to make sure that we have an open, honest, and transparent relationship with developers.”

So to do that, Dorsey encouraged developers to open a dialogue with the company via a new hashtag.

“We need to listen, learn, and have this conversation with you. And we want to start that today. We want you to tweet at us and tell us what you’d like to see more of, see us consider, see us change in our policy. Tweet with the hashtag #HelloWorld and let us know," he said.

Simply asking developers back on board is not going to be easy, as they have been burned by Twitter before.

Twitter's API in 2012 put lower rate limits, authentication, and certification requirements in place for those using its service. It stated that applications that have more than at least 100,000 users would have to work directly with Twitter on their product, policies and service agreement. Those that already have more than 100,000 user could only grow to 200% of their current size before they would be contacted by Twitter.

Basically, Twitter wanted to encourage developers in order to incorporate Twitter's own products, such as TwitterCards, into their sites, and not the other way around.

At least a few sites and services, including Tweetbot and Birdsong were forced to shut down because of the restrictions.

Twitter tried to smooth things over by bringing over Jeff Sandquist, Microsoft's Senior Director of Developer Relations, over in September of 2013 as its new director of of platform partnerships. However he left Twitter in March of this year, in order to head back to Microsoft. His position at Twitter has still not been filled.

Dorsey acknowledged that a lot of work has to be done between Twitter and developers to bring back the trust that has since eroded between the two sides.

“It won’t happen overnight, but I’m convinced we’ll make the right decisions.”

(Image source: desicomments.com)

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