Twitter is in the news again. Under the leadership of Elon Musk, the social platform has introduced a fresh level of its API called Twitter API Pro.
Twitter API Pro is specifically designed for startup companies. It enables developers to retrieve up to one million tweets every month. They can publish 300,000 tweets monthly and access the complete archive search feature. The new API is being offered at $5000 per month.
The Latest Pricing Tiers
In March this year, Twitter announced the latest pricing tiers. Twitter had previously declared its intention to discontinue access to its free API tier. However, it partially reversed that decision by granting free access to 1,500 tweets per month for content provider bots.
On Twitter, the basic tier is priced at $100 per month, and the enterprise tier is priced at $42,000 per month. The newly introduced tier is placed between the two at $42,000 monthly. Twitter claims this new level is ideal for startups looking to expand their business.
The Earlier Story
The debate surrounding Twitter’s API began when the company made an unexpected and shocking announcement in February about discontinuing free access to its API within a short timeframe. The announcement was not favorably received, resulting in widespread backlash.
Owner and CEO Elon Musk stated that the company would introduce a free tier for bots that offer valuable content. However, no specific details were provided about the level of access provided with the basic tier. The pricing was fixed at $100 per month later.
Scheduled to launch shortly after, Twitter postponed the release and said there would be a delay of a few more days. After more than 45 days, the company finally released information regarding the new APIs.
Driven More by Profits Less by Developers’ Needs
The newly introduced API offering appears to be largely motivated by profits.
- The free tier of the API only allows for 1,500 post requests per month and comes with access to Login with Twitter.
- The basic tier, designed for ordinary Twitter users or learners, provides marginally more access. It comes with 50K posts and 10K read requests per month per app.
However, developers seeking to obtain more data must apply for enterprise access. This is offered at a staggering cost of $42,000 per month.
When Twitter introduced version two of their API in 2020, developers could use various access levels like Essential and Elevated. It granted them access to 500,000 to two million tweets per month. Now, app developers who fall into that usage category must subscribe to the enterprise plan.
After Twitter unveiled its updated pricing structure, many developers and founders voiced their disappointment over the unfair pricing. They suggested that the company introduce an intermediary tier between Basic and Enterprise to accommodate startups who cannot afford the exorbitant cost of nearly half a million dollars annually.
The introduction of the Pro API tier does address some of these concerns. However, it does not adequately resolve the issues facing businesses with tight budgets, as they still have to spend a stiff amount of $60,000 annually. The posting limit associated with the Pro tier may be good enough for certain bots. Still, developers would face challenges in generating decent revenue through subscriptions or donations to sustain their services in the long run.