Twitter API Traffic is 10x Twitter’s Site

John Musser, September 10th, 2007

In a very interesting interview with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Sean Ammirati at Read/WriteTalk asks some good questions about the role of the the Twitter API in their success and plans going forward. Two things that jumps out is that Biz’s comment that the API has 10x the traffic of the website and that of all that’s happened with Twitter in the past year that “the amount of activity around the API has been the most surprising experience”. (Our Twitter API profile here.)


Read/WriteTalk interviews offer a handy transcription and so here are few tidbits on the API:

Biz Stone: Yeah. The API has been arguably the most important, or maybe even inarguably, the most important thing we’ve done with Twitter. It has allowed us, first of all, to keep the service very simple and create a simple API so that developers can build on top of our infrastructure and come up with ideas that are way better than our ideas, and build things like Twitterrific, which is just a beautiful elegant way to use Twitter that we wouldn’t have been able to get to, being a very small team.So, the API which has easily 10 times more traffic than the website, has been really very important to us. We’ve seen some amazing work built on top of it from tiny little mobile applications like an SMS timer that just allows you to set a reminder over SMS to call your mom or something like that, to more elaborate visual recreations of Twitter like twittervision.com which shows an animated map of the world and what everyone’s doing around the world with Twitter. Twitter is popping up from Spain and Japan and United States.And that’s very, sort of like, “Look at that!” It’s like staring at a fish bowl or something – an aquarium. You just find yourself getting lost in it. The API has really been a big success for us, and it’s something that we want to continue to focus our efforts on, looking forward.

Sean Ammirati: Cool. One of the things that’s interesting — and I think I know what your answer here is going to be – but I feel compelled to ask anyway. With this sort of open API being such a critical part of your success, how does that affect the business model as that develops? Biz Stone: Well, it depends on what business model we decide to pursue. We’re still very much weighing our options there, but there are definitely leading contender business models that we have mapped out where the API plays a significant role in generating just more traffic to our system. It puts us in an enviable position.So, the API becomes not only crucial for us on a creativity level and something that we can offer to the developers so that they can build their own applications and experiences, but it also becomes a way for us to grow and a way for us to potentially – depending on what business model we choose – do well there, business-wise. No matter what, we’re going to be considering the API. We’re going to be considering what folks are doing with it going forward so that it becomes part of what we are and what we do.

As VC Fred Wilson likes the sound of this and asks for more stories like this: “The API has >10x the traffic of twitter.com. That’s a great stat and I’d like to find other companies that have that metric working for them.”

We have a collection of Twitter mashups here including some highly rating ones like:

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45 Responses to “Twitter API Traffic is 10x Twitter’s Site”

September 10th, 2007
at 4:23 pm
Comment by: rascunho » Blog Archive » links for 2007-09-10

[...] Twitter API 10x Twitter (tags: blog.programmableweb.com 2007 mes8 dia10 at_tecp twitter traffic mashup mashups webservices) [...]

September 11th, 2007
at 1:01 pm
Comment by: The Importance of Having an API

[...] an interesting interview over at Read/WriteTalk, and as noticed by the ProgrammableWeb, Twitter’s founder Biz Stone claims that Twitter API has 10 times the traffic of Twitter [...]

September 11th, 2007
at 4:18 pm
Comment by: Nico Schaap

For nice Twitter statistics you can also go to http://www.twitstat.com

September 11th, 2007
at 5:01 pm
Comment by: Christian Flickinger

This makes sense. Very intriguing read. This is why Facebook is missing out. Their system may appear to be ‘open’, but it is still a very closed system.

Open APIs lead to traffic generation and open up a service to much greater opportunities and possibilities.

Take a look at:
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/06/facebook-opening-up-but-on-its-own-terms/

and http://www.nexdot.net/blog/2007/04/20/updating-facebook-status-using-php/

This illustrates how Facebook is handling the idea of being ‘open’. Their API is missing the functionality that Twitter has, and has had.

Good for Twitter.

September 11th, 2007
at 5:29 pm
Comment by: IPTV SPY

Twitter was made a success because they were pretty transparent with their API and data from Day 1!

September 11th, 2007
at 11:57 pm
Comment by: John Musser

@Nico: Nice mashup. Good mashup of the day material. You can add it here:

http://www.programmableweb.com/add

September 11th, 2007
at 11:59 pm
Comment by: John Musser

@Christian and IPTV Spy: No question that by having that API from the very beginning has made a real difference in their success.

October 6th, 2007
at 8:11 pm
Comment by: advertising » Twitter API Traffic is 10x Twitter’s Site

[...] kastan97 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

October 14th, 2007
at 10:35 am
Comment by: Twitter API Traffic is 10x Twitter’s Site « Top Tech News

[...] read more | digg story [...]

December 31st, 2007
at 5:34 pm
Comment by: 3by9 » Obligatory 2008 Predictions In Tech

[...] ads on Twitter profile pages, but then you’ll have to deal with the Twitter API users who access 10x more Twitter data than normal web visitors. Ev Williams is a big proponent of creating a solid platform first and [...]

March 3rd, 2008
at 2:04 am
Comment by: Pownce API v2

[...] ReadWriteTalk’s Sean Ammirati reported it generates 10x Twitter’s site traffic (our additional coverage here). Now the Twitter team is continuing to scale-up their service to meet demand and yesterday Allen [...]

March 6th, 2008
at 4:35 am
Comment by: Some tweets for you | content to be different

[...] http://blog.twitter.com/2008/02/twitter-web-traffic-around-world.html#_jmp0_ http://blog.programmableweb.com/2007/09/10/twitter-api-traffic-is-10x-twitters-site/#_jmp0_ http://www.twittown.com/blogs/misc-thoughts/twitter-vs-jaiku-traffic [...]

March 17th, 2008
at 3:43 pm
Comment by: Portable content: the future of online monetization

[...] concept applies to services, too. The Twitter API gets 10x the use that the web site [...]

March 26th, 2008
at 12:37 am
Comment by: FriendFeed Launches API

[...] FriendFeed, the popular activity stream aggregation service have just announced their API. FriendFeed is a service that allows users to create content streams akin to the Facebook newsfeed by telling it what third-party services they use like Flickr, Twitter and del.icio.us. Friends and family can then share and subscribe to each others feeds. Given how white hot this platform is at the moment we can expect developers to jump on this API quickly. As ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick points-out this API has lots of potential and might be as popular with developers as the Twitter API, which drives them 10x more traffic than their site does. [...]

March 26th, 2008
at 8:04 pm
Comment by: Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 22 – C# and VB .NET Libraries to Digg, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Live Services, Google and other Web 2.0 APIs

[...] talked about Twitter before and they have a Twitter API that is at least an order of magnitude more important than their site. There is a pile of source out there to talk to [...]

March 26th, 2008
at 8:14 pm
Comment by: Scott Hanselman's Computer Zen - The Weekly Source Code 22 - C# and VB .NET Libraries to Digg, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Live Services, Google and other Web 2.0 APIs

[...] talked about Twitter before and they have a Twitter API that is at least an order of magnitude more important than their site. There is a pile of source out there to talk to [...]

April 25th, 2008
at 12:52 pm
Comment by: What Would Twitter Do With $15 Million? Buy a Business Model (I Hope)

[...] comes from the third-party developers building applications using the Twitter API. According to some reports, traffic to these apps is also as much as 10x that of the actual Twitter web [...]

April 29th, 2008
at 5:36 pm
Comment by: APIs : a string barrier to entry! | L'Ouvre Boite

[...] API traffic outreach the website’s traffic 10 times. Yes, 10 times. More impressive, Twitter’s updates from the actual Twitter.com counts for [...]

June 6th, 2008
at 12:25 am
Comment by: Users Applications And APIs ~ IT Professionals

[...] so on my terms, largely thanks to their great API. And as you can see here, in many ways, it is their API that makes Twitter so [...]

June 9th, 2008
at 2:04 pm
Comment by: How can Mobile Search be more successful? : Crisp Voices

[...] for that content and for the reader’s mode of behavior.  Major search engines should open up XML based API’s so mobile search is easy to integrate into various systems.  The fragmented technical platform for [...]

July 15th, 2008
at 1:36 am
Comment by: 10 ways that Twitter could make money quickly « Innovation 2.0 and…

[...] and Twhirl come to mind. And the API has at least 10x the amount of traffic of the Website, according to Williams. All the companies that are using the Twitter API can profit from the use of it with no benefit to [...]

November 1st, 2008
at 4:17 pm
Comment by: Paradigmenwechsel im Design? - Von Oliver Wagner - Benutzer erwarten von Webseiten immer mehr Möglichkeiten zur Partizipation, It is alive, Disclaimer Als Lycos Mitarbeiter habe ich an der Konzeption von iQ mitgewirkt, Das Web der Daten, Social Technogra

[...] seit dem Relaunch ein sehr übersichtliches Frontend – andererseits hat Twitter fast 90% des Traffics auf der API, und nur rund 10% auf der eigenen Webseite. Das schließt die [...]

November 8th, 2008
at 2:18 am
Comment by: 1,000 Web APIs

[...] Twitter, whose API does 10x the traffic of their web site [...]

January 2nd, 2009
at 10:31 pm
Comment by: Twitter and the Password Anti-Pattern | FactoryCity

[...] the interactions seem to happen on-site, this model makes sense. For a service like Twitter, whose primary traffic comes from external sites and applications, it does [...]

January 11th, 2009
at 2:36 pm
Comment by: I Never make Predictions and Never Will: IT Predictions For 2009 « Martin’s Weblog

[...] to use, easy to use in different ways and is highly extendable, for example the Twitter API carries 10 times the traffic of the visible Twitter site – this is used by 3rd party twitter user interfaces but also for systems interfaces – e.g. to feed [...]

January 29th, 2009
at 4:46 pm
Comment by: SitePoint » The Branch: Twitter Ad Network That’s Not on Twitter

[...] more importantly, not a lot of people use Twitter’s web site. The majority of Twitter traffic comes via the API. In other words, most people see tweets via a third party client, and not many users will actually [...]

February 10th, 2009
at 4:36 pm
Comment by: Top 25 Social Networks |

[...] Platz 22 auf Platz 3 geschoben. Da davon ausgegangen wird, dass Twitters Traffic auf der API ca. 10mal so groß sein soll wie auf  Twitter.com wird der Abstand mit 542.187.210 Visits zu MySpace deutlich [...]

February 19th, 2009
at 4:21 am
Comment by: 120 Twitter Mashups and Growing Fast

[...] we’ve discussed before, Twitter’s API gets at least 10x the traffic of their web site. And it’s likely much more than that today given the proliferation of the third-party apps [...]

February 19th, 2009
at 5:45 pm
Comment by: The Cloud Area Network - Translating Technical to Plain English - jungleG

[...] since its inception, allowing third parties to read and write those short messages from anywhere. Twitter is used 10x more from outside programs and websites than from it’s own [...]

February 20th, 2009
at 12:44 pm
Comment by: An Introduction to the Cloud Area Network | The Cloud Area Network

[...] since its inception, allowing third parties to read and write those short messages from anywhere. Twitter is used 10x more from outside programs and websites than from it’s own [...]

March 3rd, 2009
at 6:33 pm
Comment by: La Red de Área Nube - Tecnología, medios y un poquito de todo lo demás - El Blog de Jores

[...] el principio, permitiendo a terceros leer y escribir esos cortos mensajes desde cualquier sitio. Twitter es usado 10 veces más desde programas y sitios externos que desde su propio [...]

March 14th, 2009
at 2:01 pm
Comment by: Twitter - Microblogging im Unternehmenseinsatz | PXP Blog!

[...] übrigens nur Web-Traffic, der Zugriff auf twitter mittels Clientapplikationen (API) ist angeblich 10 x so hoch. Gesicherte Nutzungszahlen für einzelne Länder sind leider nicht verfügbar, laut einer aktuellen [...]

March 25th, 2009
at 3:03 pm
Comment by: The Dichotomy of SOA and the Corporate Enterprise - Jason Lenhart

[...] and their successful Web Services, or how about the new social phenomena of Twitter that is getting 10 times more use through its APIs than its interface. These are all outstanding implementations of SOA. Furthermore, it is even [...]

April 12th, 2009
at 4:02 am
Comment by: Mainstream Twitter :: nemetral.net

[...] Twitter alone works well, but the smartest move was to build a powerful API for the web service. As I explained, illustrated and demonstrated in previous posts, a good web service must escape from its very own URL and start spreading all over the web (and beyond) through a powerful, reliable and secure API. Twitter has one and it works. Dozens of apps have been developped based so far: some of them enhance Twitter’s default features (like adding pictures or creating groups of Twitterers), some bring Twitter to the desktop (mainly AIR apps), some mash up Twitter’s data with anything else, etc. Twitter can now be fed from other websites, from your browser, from your mobile phone. Twitter’s API made Twitter more reachable, more flexible and dramatically increased its presence. As confirmed by Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, Twitter API traffic is 10 times Twitter’s site. [...]

April 24th, 2009
at 6:45 pm
Comment by: Tracking Twitter Traffic - Lee Willis’ Blog | www.leewillis.co.uk

[...] thing, for people trying to use Twitter as a a weapon in their digital marketing arsenal, is that Twitter traffic is 10x higher through their API, than through their [...]

November 17th, 2009
at 12:48 pm
Comment by: A Peek into Social Networking Developer Ecosystems - Straight from the mind

[...] holes. Currently around 80% of Twitter’s usage is via 3rd party apps. and the Twitter API has 10x the traffic of its website. Twitter does not have 300+ million active user but it has momentum, excitement and [...]

April 15th, 2010
at 2:20 pm
Comment by: Twitter Reveals: 75% of Our Traffic is via API (3 billion calls per day)

[...] back in 2007 we wrote that Twitter’s API traffic was 10x the Twitter site. The exact percentage via their site or via their API varies over time, but it’s clear that [...]

June 7th, 2010
at 9:21 am
Comment by: Suboptimale Plattform-Strategie von Twitter ist gut für den Rest des Webs

[...] das bereits 2007(!) stolz verbreitete, dass zehn Mal(!) mehr Traffic über die API als über die Site selbst kommt (weitere Zahlen: 75% der Tweets sollen über Applikationen kommen), hat kein [...]

June 11th, 2010
at 11:28 am
Comment by: Rolling Tweets

Here is an alternative to main twitter site. http://rollingtweets.com/ . Maybe this will engage more people than the API. The animations makes it feel like browsing a book of tweets. The image preview rocks (with all the bit.ly’s and tiny’s in the tweets these days) . Love the options to pick any text on the tweet and start browsing for tweets.

September 24th, 2010
at 1:00 am
Comment by: Resistance is Futile, Integration is Inevitable. | The Refined Geek

[...] at the point where only a quarter of their traffic is actually on their main site, the other three quarters is from their API. This shows that whilst they’ve built an incredibly useful and desirable [...]

October 3rd, 2010
at 10:03 pm
Comment by: creative engine

If i had to guess, i would have said the API gets as much traffic as the site, not 10 times!

May 2nd, 2011
at 10:31 pm
Comment by: Tech Talk: Exploring SoundCloud | GigMasters: inside the gig

[...] brilliant thing about SoundCloud is that they followed Twitter’s well documented path of allowing outside web developers to create apps that use their service. As a result there [...]

May 6th, 2012
at 9:36 pm
Comment by: It’s the API, Stupid! How to Crowdsource Your App Ecosystem

[...] overnight, the API supported not just the majority of Twitter traffic, but within a year, fully 91% of Tweets came through the API. You would be justified in answering “What is Twitter?” with [...]

July 24th, 2012
at 1:24 am
Comment by: Carla

Twitter today is popular social media sites. Whose primary traffic comes from external sites.

December 3rd, 2012
at 2:36 pm
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John Musser
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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.