Breaking! PeopleBrowsr Reaches Firehose Settlement With Twitter

You’ll remember lots of third party developers have been ticked at Twitter lately, because they’ve had to close up shop due to changes to Twitter’s API that restricted their access.

PeopleBrowsr, the folks behind Kred (and others), is one of those developers – but it hasn’t closed up shop. Far from it. It has been battling Twitter since late last year to retain its coveted access to Twitter’s firehose.

And today, they’ve announced a settlement with Twitter.

Third party developers gasped collectively when PeopleBrowsr took the bold move of taking out a retraining order against Twitter to retain its firehose access. And then we all watched with bated breath as the fight progressed.

First, Twitter countered by attempting to move the fight to federal court. This turned out to be a bad move for Twitter, as the Court not only sided with PeopleBrowsr, it also “granted PeopleBrowsr’s request that Twitter pay reasonable costs and expenses, including attorney fees, incurred as a result of Twitter’s ‘improper removal of this case’.”

And the last we heard, PeopleBrowsr’s restraining order was still in place, giving them continued access to the firehose, with the next step being a preliminary injunction hearing in state court.

Speaking with Kred CEO, Andrew Grill, this morning, we learned that PeopleBrowsr is pleased to announce it has reached a settlement with Twitter.

Kred “can have continued firehouse access till end of the year (2013) and after that through an authorized data provider.” Grill shares they have yet to begin negotiations with one of these providers, like GnipDatasift or Topsy (the three Twitter-Certified Data Resellers), but they’re optimistic about it.

In the meantime, it will be back to “business as usual” for the folks at Kred – and they’re glad for it. Leaving all this court business behind, “allows us to focus on other stuff we’re doing,” says Grill.

What is this “other stuff?”

  1. Kred for Brands is a visual analysis of a Brand social media presence: It helps identify and engage key influencers on Twitter and Facebook to create successful word of mouth campaigns: it filters lists of influencers based on interest, network, connections, for brands to engage with the most effective brand advocates and community leaders, learn about them and activate their communities and increase social media ROI.
  2. Kred for Facebook is an app showing top fans, top posts, top trends in your network of friends and interests on Facebook. It also includes Brands Rewards: Brand recognition for influencers in the brand community.
  3. Kred also runs Kred Rewards Campaigns on Twitter.

Yep, they’re busy bees. 

So what do you think of the settlement though? It doesn’t crack the API access issue wide open, by any means, as few third party developers could boast full firehose access like PeopleBrowsr, but it IS interesting. Could third-party developers have sued for restraining orders when it came to token limits, for example?

A few developers did reach out the Federal Trade Commission a little while back, but nothing seems to have come of it. And will PeopleBrowsr’s settlement inspire others to submit claims challenging other Twitter API restrictions?

(Image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.