If you’ve read my blog posts about Tweet Marker over the years, including this one when introducing a paid plan, you might hear a little indecision on the right path forward. I’ve run it more like a community service and less like a business, and admittedly the window for turning it into a profitable endeavor has slipped away. But I still want to make the service work well and improve it.
After vacationing this week leading up to Thanksgiving, I finally realized I need to remove the support burden of giving out free access. Starting today, Tweet Marker will transition to a paid-only service. To make this easier, I’ve introduced a less expensive $25/month plan for smaller developers. (Previously the only choice was $75/month, which is now the top tier plan with unlimited active users.)
This solves the problem of automating access to the API. Instead of having to manually fulfill API keys so that developers could try out Tweet Marker, which usually meant weeks or months of delay until I could get to it, by signing up online, developers get immediate access to the API without having to wait on me.
In the short term, this change means that new apps must subscribe before using the API. In the long run, all existing apps should also transition to a paid plan. I haven’t set a hard deadline for existing apps yet, but will work with developers over the coming months to do so.
You can learn more at tweetmarker.net/developers/.
Update: To be clear, this post is only for developers. There’s a $1/month subscription for end users but it is optional.
David Smith wrote last week on the 5-year anniversary of shipping his first iPhone app. I started following David’s work in the middle this story — after he had started the Developing Perspective podcast, but before he created Check the Weather and Feed Wrangler — so it’s especially great to see such a nice, reflective post that fills in the earlier apps. On launching and scaling Feed Wrangler:
“In retrospect, it was one of the toughest challenges and most trying times of my career. The relentless dual-pronged attack of late nights and urgent work made it crushing physically and psychologically. Now that things have settled down, I can look back and be glad that I went through it. The kind of things you learn in that kind of crucible can’t be easily recreated.”
I could read these kind of posts every day. Also last week, when Gus Mueller announced that he was selling VoodooPad, I remembered as I was talking with Daniel on Core Intuition 112 that Gus’s similar blog post from 2005 is still interesting and relevant today.
My account in Watermark right now has 805,182 searchable tweets stored in it — tweets from everyone in my timeline, App.net posts, favorites, and of course my own tweets. When I launched the service, I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep storing these. I initially promised 1-2 months, then upped it to 3 months, and then 6.
Today I’m happy to announce that I have a more formal system in place for storage. The default $4/month plan will officially increase to 1 full year, storing every tweet from anyone in your timeline starting when you sign up. Your own tweets and favorites are kept forever.
If 1 year isn’t long enough, there’s a new unlimited plan for $10/month. Every tweet or App.net post in the system for your account will be kept forever. After a year or two it becomes a really massive and interesting search database, tailored just to your account.
The new tiered plans are live now for new accounts, and I’ll be rolling out a method for switching between plans for current customers soon. You can learn more about Watermark here.