Tweetbot and Twitterrific users can support developers by reducing subscription refunds

Popular Twitter clients Tweetbot and Twitterrific stopped working overnight in January after Twitter disabled the API used by third-party apps. Twitter gave zero warning that the apps were blocked from accessing Twitter content, and in fact made no statement about the situation for well over a week.

Twitter then officially updated its terms of service to ban all apps similar to the Twitter app. Twitter clients that had been running for more than a decade were suddenly shut down, with no communication from Twitter, no heads up, and no way for developers to find a way to carefully unwrap their businesses and communicate the shutdown to customers.

Tweetbot and Twitterrific, two of the most used Twitter clients, had subscription offers and thousands of customers paying for subscriptions on an annual basis. With the apps unable to function, prorated refunds will be automatically issued to subscribers next month, greatly impacting businesses that had no warning that their income stream would be disrupted.

These refunds will be largely paid by Tweetbot and Twitterific, not Apple. As John Gruber points out Bold fireball, that’s like a person getting fired and then having to pay back the last six months of their salary. It’s a significant financial blow to app developers who were put out of business by Twitter’s decision.

Tweetbot and Twitterrific have teamed up to offer multiple options to customers who are owed refunds and customers who want to help should do the following:

  1. Open Tweetbot or Twitterrific (or re-download the apps if they’ve been deleted and open them).
  2. Select the “I don’t need a refund” button. Alternatively, for Tweetbot, choose to migrate the subscription to the new Ivory app for Mastodon.

Because refunds are issued automatically, Tweetbot and Twitterrific customers who are happy with their service and want to help the developers opt out should manually opt out using this method.

Customers who I am doing wants a refund can’t do anything and will get a prorated refund on March 28th. Anyone who doesn’t hit the “I don’t need a refund” button will get their money back for the months that were left on the subscription at the time the apps stopped working.

The apps have already been unavailable for more than a month, meaning Tweetbot and Twitterific have no way to reach customers who likely no longer open the apps or who have already deleted them entirely. Many customers will be issued refunds without even opting to be refunded as it is an automatic process without the manual opt-out.

Twitterrific Developers Iconfactory and Tweetbot Developers Tapbots both have other apps, but Tweetbot and Twitterrific were their main apps. Apple will require them to pay between 70 and 85 percent of each refund, depending on how long each person has been enrolled (70 percent for those enrolled for less than a year and 85 percent for those enrolled for more than a year). Apple would pay the remaining 15 to 30 percent, since that’s Apple’s cut of the subscriptions.

Tapbots has already switched to Mastodon and offers the Ivory client on both iPhone and Mac, while Iconfactory is focusing on its other apps, such as Linea Sketch.

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