On Tuesday of last week Twitter shut down version 1.0 of their API. This change had been a long time coming, there was ample warning. I fixed all the code I wrote in PHP months ago, but what never got fixed was my favourite Twitter client. I’ve been a loyal user of Twitbird Pro for years. I paid for this client and stuck with it even though updates had become non-existant. On Tuesday I learned why, the company that makes Twitbird Pro has basically abandoned all their paying customers without even informing them that the software would ceased to be maintained anymore.
Twitbird Pro is still in the iTunes App Store. Presumably new users could potentially buy a product that is now completely incapable of connecting to Twitter. The company that makes Twitbird Pro is Nibirutech, they are headquartered in Chengdu China. The company has not answered any support queries or made any comments on official social media channels for several days. Pretending there is no problem and nothing can be done is not a valid business strategy, that is something else I learned during my Sauder MBA, alas some of my classmates never learned that lesson.
Nibirutech was founded by Kevin Yang. Completely ignoring your paying customers is not wise when they are all active social media users, Kev. Also failing to plan for an API update does not inspire confidence in investors and potential future customers. Maybe they’ll eventually fix Twitbird Pro, maybe Twitter’s API license changes completely screwed them, but at the very least they should have acknowledge the problem publicly and warned customers that their Twitter client was going to cease functioning when version 1.0 of Twitter’s API was finally retired.
I’m a big fan of Twitter lists so I decided to switch to and pay for another non-mainstream Twitter client, Tweetlist Pro. I’m not sure I need the pro version, but I want to see some variety of Twitter clients remain as not everyone uses Twitter the same. Maybe I’m just setting myself up for more disappointment by not switching to the official Twitter iPhone App.
Perversely the other thing that broke this week was Twitter’s official widget, which I had been using on my homepage. I’m now using the new official Twitter widget.
Update June 25th 2013
Someone advised me to collect screenshots of Twitbird. Seeing as the app is no longer working, it is no longer on my iPhone. It is however still in the iTunes store and it is still featured on Nibirutech’s website, so below are some screen shots, that I easily gathered using Google Image Search or took directly from Nibirutech.
I still wish they would have fixed their App or at least warned users that the app was going to stop working the moment Twitter turned off the old API. I dug up a few more stories about the app and the company behind it. Kevin’s Chinese first name is possibly Xiangji, the app used to be called iTwitter. Niburtech was at a conference in Chengdu last year, apparently they have a popular game called Galaxy Empire which may be where all their effort is going as clearly it isn’t going into supporting their existing App customers.
Galaxy Empire is published by Tap4Fun which is connected to Nibirutech and Twitbird as both are in Chengdu possibly at Tianfu Software Park. Are the companies one and the same? Apparently… gamers figured this out using domain lookups most likely.