When Twitter was just starting out, it didn’t have its own photo sharing feature and people have been using third party services to tweet photos. One of the most popular and widely used services is Twitpic. The photo sharing service has its own fair share of helping Twitter spread viral photos including an image of a US Airways plane submerged in the Hudson River. The photo posted by Janis Krums had helped put Twitter on the map.
Last Thursday, Twitpic announced that it will be shutting down on Sept. 25. It was not a conscious decision made by the founder. In a blog post made by Noah Everett, Twitpic’s founder, he blames Twitter for the shut down.
He said that Twitter demanded that they abandon Twitpics’ trademark application or “risk losing access to their API.” API is the code that allows Twitpic users to share photos on Twitter. He further wrote that the demand came as a shock since Twitpic has been around since 2008 and that their trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009.
Twitpic was being used by thousands of Twitter users and it was supported by third-party Twitter clients for years until Twitter added photo sharing feature. This move made it difficult for services like Twitpic to keep up with Twitter’s own photo sharing service but Everett is closing down its service not because it couldn’t keep up but because Twitter itself is making them.
Because Twitpic doesn’t have enough resources to battle Twitter legally, Everett just decided to shut down the service instead.
Over the last couple of years, Twitter has been giving a hard time to third party services, narrowing the number of companies it grants full access to its API. The social media has been forcing companies to close down or charging users for access to tokens that it restricts other developers with. This is in wild contrast to the social network’s policy back in 2008 where Twitter was just a growing microblogging site and was a free-for-all for companies and developers. It now has millions of users and investors so making a profit is more important than ever.
According to a Twitter’s spokesperson, Twitpic was to blame for its demise because it did not heed the company’s warning. The rep said that they are “sad to see Twitpic shutting down” and they have to, of course, “protect our brand.”
Everett, on the other hand, sees the situation differently. He said that Twitter basically gave them an “ultimatum” to either give up their mark or lose their API access.
For users who have used Twitpic for the last six years and have built a collection of their own photos, Everett has announced that they will launch a feature that will allow users to export all their photos and videos. The feature will be announced in the next few days.
Everett ended his blog post by thanking everyone for letting the service be a part of their lives. Everett will also be focusing on his messaging app, Pingly, that he’s been lately working on once Twitpic officially shuts down.