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Tweetbot for Mac: Why I’m probably not buying it

Yesterday, Tapbots announced Tweetbot for Mac was available to purchase on the Mac App Store for $20. It’s by far the slickest Twitter app for the Mac out there and leaves almost all the competitors in the dust.

So why won’t I be buying it? There’s actually a couple of reasons I’m not likely to buy it but one reason it definitely isn’t is the cost. John Gruber put it best:

$20 for a Twitter client? Damn straight. Screw the race to the bottom. I’m happy to pay for quality work.

I’ve been using the beta of Tweetbot for Mac and I can tell you, it’s worth every penny. Not only is it one of the best Twitter apps for the Mac, it’s one of the best Mac apps period.

I admire Tapbots for upping the game of quality apps and charging appropriately for them. I recently purchased Things for the iPad – $19.99 for an iPad app is quite high in comparison, but I use it daily and it’s a quality app.

So why aren’t I buying Tweetbot for Mac? There’s actually a few different reasons:

  1. I already have Tweetbot for iPhone and iPad. I do most of my Twitter consumption on these devices. I have my iPad plugged in on my desk on a kickstand with Tweetbot open and the screen lock set to “never”. That’s a dedicated display just for Twitter, freeing up screen real estate on my Mac.
  2. Mountain Lion’s Twitter integration means I don’t need a dedicated Twitter app to send out tweets. Most of my tweets are sent through Notification Center.
  3. I’m on App.net. App.net and Twitter are by no means mutually exclusive services but I’m wanting to move to App.net more and more and Twitter become my secondary social network.
  4. I’ve bought more Twitter apps on the Mac and iOS than any other app category. It’s sickening to see how many I’ve purchased. If I absolutely have to interact with my timeline, I’ve got a wide selection of apps I can use. (I’ll be damned if I use the Twitter website).

Above all, however, the main reason I won’t be buying it is that I don’t agree with where Twitter is going in their support of 3rd-party clients. This whole token fiasco has meant Tweetbot for Mac will be a limited run.

TheNextWeb quotes Paul Haddad of Tapbots:

That’s why it’s a shame that we probably won’t be seeing many more like it, if any at all. Because of the restrictions on third-party Twitter apps, developers like Tapbots can only sell a limited amount of copies of their Mac apps. “We only have a limited number of tokens available for Tweetbot for Mac,” Haddad explains, “These tokens dictate how many users Tweetbot for Mac can support.”

That limit is separate from the Tweetbot apps for iOS, but is lower than 200K, as that’s the limit imposed by Twitter. “Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter,” says Haddad, “we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users.”

So once all their tokens are used up, it probably won’t be available anymore. It’s not known if we’ll ever see any truly great 3rd-party apps again since future apps will have to adhere to the token limit. Because of this, I can’t justify keeping the app if I’m not going to buy it. I’ve no doubt that a number of people will buy Tweetbot for Mac just to say they support 3rd party clients without actually using it regularly but the more people who do this, the fewer tokens there are to distribute to customers who will make better use of it.

Once my beta expires, I will be revoking the token I used so that someone else will make better use of it.

I am ending on a promise: If Tapbots release an App.net client for the Mac, I’m in.