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The Absurdity of Twitter's $42,000 Monthly API Access Fee – A Giant April Fools Joke

Twitter's new API pricing plan, featuring a staggering $42,000 monthly fee, has left the developer community questioning its authenticity. Many are speculating whether this exorbitant price is a poorly executed joke or an actual strategy with potentially disastrous consequences for indie developers. April fools, maybe?
Updated April 1, 2023
twitter logo with dollar signs as digital art
twitter logo with dollar signs as digital art

I don't write this to be rude, but I literally think this is a joke.

In a surprising turn of events, Twitter has announced new API pricing plans for developers, with the highest tier set at a staggering $42,000 per month. This change has understandably been met with disbelief and concern among the developer community.

While some speculate that the $42,000 price tag may be an ill-conceived April Fool's joke, the potential consequences for indie developers are far from amusing.

Under the new pricing structure, Twitter offers a free API tier that permits developers to write 1,500 tweets per month but doesn't grant access to existing tweets. This stands in stark contrast to the previous free plan called "Elevated," which allowed developers to access 2 million tweets per month. For those seeking a more robust option, Twitter has introduced the $100 per month "Basic" plan, aimed at hobbyists and students. This tier permits access to 10,000 tweets and the ability to write 50,000 tweets per month.

However, many developers fear that this limit will be quickly exceeded by apps with even a modest user base. What startup or indie project can actually sustain a product at this level? I don't think many can..

The most controversial aspect of the new pricing structure is the enormous gap between the Basic and Enterprise plans. There is currently no intermediate plan between the $100 per month Basic tier and the jaw-dropping $42,000 per month starting price for the Enterprise plans. If an app outgrows the Basic plan, developers face the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of upgrading to the exorbitant Enterprise tier.

Twitter claims that the new API pricing aims to combat the prevalence of bots on the platform. However, the developer community is reeling from the impact of these changes, with many indie developers announcing the inevitable shutdown of their Twitter-based apps. Although some hope that the $42,000 price point is merely a joke, the future remains uncertain for many small-scale developers. The tech community awaits clarification from Twitter and hopes that a more reasonable pricing strategy will be implemented, ensuring a sustainable environment for innovation and growth.

The newly announced Twitter API pricing structure appears almost too outlandish to be true, leading many to believe it must be a joke. If it turns out to be genuine, Twitter risks alienating a significant portion of the developer community, potentially resulting in a considerable reduction of third-party services integrating with the platform.

For a company that thrives on innovation and interconnectedness, such an outcome would be far from ideal...

Only time will reveal whether or not Elon Musk and the Twitter team will reconsider this seemingly exorbitant pricing model (I don't believe it though)

The hope is that they will soon introduce more reasonable and accessible plans, acknowledging the value that indie developers and third-party services bring to the platform.

Until then, developers and users alike will be keeping a close eye on Twitter's next move, hoping that this bizarre chapter is just a short-lived and ill-conceived joke, rather than a new norm. April fools?

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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