Twitter, the micro-blogging website, has banned other companies from inserting adverts into its endless stream of short messages as it continues to exert greater control over its wide-reaching platform.
The move follows Twitter’s unveiling of its own advertising system last month and could jeopardise several companies seeking to ride on the popularity of the site, which has attracted 100m users in the four years of its existence.
Sean Corcoran of Forrester Research said: “It’s about gaining a level of control, so they can manage the experience. And it’s a level of revenue protection”.
Twitter said adverts from other companies could be confusing to users and unfairly burden the host.
It said in blog post: “Twitter bears all the costs of maintaining the network, protecting the Tweet stream against spam, supporting user requests, and scaling the service.
“Indeed, Twitter will bear many of the support costs associated with any third-party paid Tweets, as Twitter receives support e-mails related to anything a user sees in a tweet stream. The third-party bears few of these costs by comparison.”
It added that it now had more than 200 employees to sustain.
Ad.ly, one service that could fall victim to the changes, said it was reviewing the changes.
Mr Corcoran said that such companies who had relied on inserting adverts into the stream might have to look beyond Twitter in future.
He said: “They might look to other platforms ... but at the end of the day I don’t see a bright future for them.
“When you’re dependent on one platform, that’s a dangerous place to be.”
Other developers gave a cautious welcome to the changes, in spite of Twitter’s potential encroachment into their businesses.
Nick Halstead, chief executive of Tweetmeme, which aggregates web links shared on Twitter, welcomed the removal of unwanted ads.
He said: “The only thing I care about is that the Twitter userbase continues to grow,”
Even if [Twitter] have to trample on particular companies to continue growing, that has to happen.”
Mr Halstead said Twitter’s most recent incursions into its community’s business – the release of “official” software for iPhones and BlackBerry mobile devices – appeared to have been welcomed by users and had boosted activity on the site as a whole.
Some developers were left confused by the sudden announcement.
William Fischer, founder of TwitJobSearch and Buzzzy, two services which use Twitter’s developer platform, said: “Any uncertainty makes it difficult for us to plot out our product roadmap, but their focus on the [user experience] has served us [and] them well,”
Twitter recently released its own mobile applications, in competition with many independent companies, and is soon expected to incorporate its own capabilities for sharing pictures and videos.