消息传出之后，各大科技媒体立即开始紧张地分析两家公司分手的原因。科技网站AllThingsD的迈克•伊萨克指出，Twitter的许多新功能都没有在LinkedIn上显示，比如Twitter的“可扩展消息”功能（它可以显示来自《纽约时报》(The New York Times)等网站的新闻摘要和照片）以及多线程对话功能等。Twitter的消费产品负责人迈克尔•西皮也在公司的一篇博文中对此表示了认同。他向研发者们提醒说：“（你们）需要能够看到，可扩展消息功能以及其它功能会让Twitter变得更加吸引人，也更容易使用。”
就像大多数内斗一样，钱也是导致两家分手的一个重要原因。科技网站GigaOM的马修•英格拉姆认为，Twitter的大多数收入依靠“眼球经济”，也就是把消费者的关注卖给广告商。从这一点看，它和报纸以及其他任何媒体没有太大区别。维珍美国航空公司（Virgin America）、红牛饮料（Red Bull）、可口可乐（Coca-Cola）等大企业都斥巨资在Twitter上做推广。这些推广消息要么会在消费者搜索相关关键词时直接显示出来，要么就直接推送给目标用户。其它做广告的方法还包括价格更昂贵的热门话题推广，以及推广账户等，这些都会显示在用户的“关注谁”侧边栏里。
Like children of a troubled marriage, fans of Twitter and LinkedIn woke up this week wondering what went wrong. Asannounced last Friday, Twitter ended its tweet syndication agreement with LinkedIn. While LinkedIn users can still post status updates from the site on Twitter, their tweets will no longer show up within LinkedIn activity streams.
The digerati have been busy dissecting the unexpected breakup. Mike Isaac of All Things D points out that many of Twitter's new features -- expandable tweets (that can show summaries and photos from sites like The New York Times) and threaded conversations -- weren't displaying on LinkedIn (LNKD). Twitter's own consumer product lead Michael Sippey echoes this explanation in a company blog post, cautioning developers that "[you] need to be able to see expanded Tweets and other features that make Twitter more engaging and easier to use."
But money -- as in most domestic squabbles -- also appears to be a big part of the picture. Twitter makes much of its revenue (a reported $260 million last year) by selling the gaze of consumers' eyeballs to advertisers. In this respect, it's hardly different from a newspaper or any other media entity, as GigaOM's Mathew Ingram convincingly argues. In Twitter's case, companies like Virgin America or Red Bull or Coca-Cola (CCE) pay handsomely for promoted tweets, which show up in Twitter searches for relevant keywords or are injected directly into targeted users' timelines. Other ad options include the pricier promoted trends, as well as promoted accounts, which appear in users' "Who to follow" sidebars.
But when third-party developers like LinkedIn tap into Twitter's API -- channeling tweets onto their services -- they siphon off a good chunk of those consumer eyeballs to their own sites. (Think of an API as a sort of master-key allowing outsiders to access Twitter's data and build apps on top of its platform.) Now, for years this has been done by an entire ecosystem of outside developers with Twitter's full blessing. In fact, the network's founder Biz Stone himself credited this approach as "arguably the most important, or maybe even unarguably, the most important thing we've done with Twitter." Fueled by a parallel universe of more than a million third-party apps and counting, Twitter has grown to a half-billion users in six short years.
And there's the rub: Having a wide-open API is great for growth - users flood in as your network becomes a backbone for all kinds of innovative, useful apps. Monetizing a wide-open API can prove a bit tricky, however, since you're essentially funneling consumers away from your site. Twitter has struggled with this conundrum over the last two years, quietly tightening the reins on outside developers, restricting its API and wresting control of apps back from third parties. In this light, Twitter's decision to stop sending its tweets to LinkedIn begins to make sense, part of a larger push to channel consumers back to its own site and branded apps, where they can be monetized indirectly through ad sales.
That seems logical enough. But is it the best solution? As serial tech entrepreneur Nova Spivack argues, Twitter as a single destination site will never capture as many eyeballs as the collective universe of third-party apps in its orbit. Instead of tightening its API and cutting off apps liked LinkedIn, wouldn't it be smarter for Twitter to find a way to monetize all of those existing third-party users? Not only does this seem to make sense, it would also be really easy to do.
How? Twitter could inject its own promoted tweets and other ads right into the API stream used by third-party apps. So, for instance, LinkedIn users -- instead of facing a Twitter blackout -- would see all the tweets from their professional network, plus the occasional promoted tweet that they'd find on their Twitter homepage anyway. That hardly seems like a hardship.
But suppose you do find those promoted tweets objectionable. That's where Plan B comes in. Developers would also have the option of paying Twitter for premium API access, enabling them to nix promoted tweets and other ads. Either way, Twitter gets its hard-won revenue, outside developers retain API access and consumers get the functionality they want. The entire ecosystem continues to grow and flourish. Plus, Twitter instantly becomes one of the web's ad powerhouses, with a network rivaling Google (GOOG) AdSense or Facebook (FB) Ads.