RIP Topify

I’ve praised Topify before, saying that it was one of the most useful little apps in my toolbox.  I’ve used it for over two years, and it has saved me a ton of time, by allowing me to manage my Twitter follows and un-follows (for those dumbasses who think auto-DMing someone will somehow make them money) via email.

Last week, Twitter changed the format of its email notifications, which broke the Topify’s method of  identifying and processing Twitter notification-related emails.  I don’t care enough about Twitter to explore this in any detail, but my general impression has long been that Twitter has a very schizophrenic relationship with the developer community- they love them- until they don’t. 

I was immediately worried that the end may be near for Topify, and today I received an email and read a blog post that confirmed my fears.  Topify is shutting down on August 5, 2011.

There’s theoretically some way to work around this change, but Arik Fraimovich, Topify’s developer, made the understandable decision to throw in the towel:

I considered switching to using the Streaming API in the past, but the only option for Topify is to use the Site Streams version of it. But Site Streams are still in beta, and according to the documentation there is no estimated date for it to exit beta. Considering this last episode and other actions by Twitter in the past year, I have no desire to expriment with their beta offerings. Not only this can result in unstable service for you, they might just shut it down one day.

Unless you are making a butt-load of money in the meantime, why in the world would developers work on small value-additive apps, when they know from experience that Twitter can and probably will pull the rug out from under them at any time?

All I can say to that is, thanks Arik for a great little service.  I used it every day for years, and it will be missed.

Now I’m going to have to visit Twitter to un-follow everyone who auto-DMs me

2 thoughts on “RIP Topify

  1. Thank you for the post. It worms my heart to know that people care about the service (although it makes me even more sad that I shut it down).

    As for your question, “Unless you are making a butt-load of money in the meantime, why in the world would developers work on small value-additive apps?”. Well, for me it’s the passion to create things along with the joy I get from making my users happy.

    I wouldn’t mind combining those two with some business model, but it’s not always a mandatory 🙂

  2. Exactly.  Which is why Twitter should maybe try a little harder to avoid disrupting services created by passionate creators.  It irks me that some of these platforms rely on the independent developers to make their service better, and then abandon them once they don’t think they need them anymore.

    It’s not just this one example.  It’s the fact that everyone is now on notice that the game- and the API- can be changed at any time.
    Take Chrome.  I absolutely love it.  But it wouldn’t be nearly as good without the extensions, many of which are created out of that same passion.  If Google were to suddenly break all third party extensions, it would be screwing the entire process- developers and users.As I noted, I don’t follow Twitter very closely, but they seem to have an especially inconsistent approach to third party developers.Thanks again for Topify.  It was great.

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