Twitter to certify third-party apps for businesses

The Twitter Certified Products Program will certify apps in three areas: Engagement, Analytics and Data Reseller

On the heels of controversial changes to its developer platform, Twitter is debuting a certification program for third-party business applications that the company deems particularly good and useful.

Through its new Certified Products Program, Twitter will evaluate third-party applications built for its microblogging site that are designed to help businesses better engage with and understand customers.

The launch comes just weeks after Twitter announced that the next version of its API (application programming interface) includes changes designed to encourage external developers to create applications for businesses that use Twitter, in areas like social CRM, data analytics and social influence ranking.

At the same time, the new Version 1.1 of the Twitter API introduces changes and restrictions aimed at discouraging developers from building "traditional" Twitter front-end client and syndication applications for consumers.

The new API, unsurprisingly, has triggered loud complaints from developers whose current applications are being negatively impacted by the new rules, although the tension between Twitter and these developers isn't new. Twitter officials have been indicating the change of direction for its developer platform since at least early 2011.

Thus, the launch of the Certified Products Program is in line with Twitter's strategy to promote the creation of applications for businesses. "With this program, we've identified areas where we see huge demand for innovation on Twitter's platform," wrote Twitter's Seth Bindernagel in a blog post.

At launch, Twitter is awarding certifications in three areas, which it calls Engagement, Analytics and Data Reseller. Overall, the applications in these categories are designed to help businesses monitor, filter, aggregate, analyze and act upon Twitter posts and trends that are relevant to them, such as negative mentions of their products or brands.

Twitter will use a variety of criteria to evaluate the applications submitted for review, but the main consideration is whether an application helps businesses use Twitter more successfully.

Other criteria include that the application not duplicate functionality Twitter already provides natively, that it bring Twitter into new or underserved markets, and that it pursue an opportunity with a potentially "significant impact."

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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