DON’T build entire businesses/apps which are completely at the liberty of 3rd party APIs. They don’t give a fuck about you and you are putting all your eggs in someone else’s basket. Advice from someone who’s worked with many APIs.

Just some advice from someone who’s worked with many (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, SoundCloud) APIs. I am so fed up that now a days, I have started to strongly discourage people on building whole business based off of 3rd party clients.

I used to have a Soundcloud API based app a few years ago. Then as SC started going downhill and almost going bankrupt, they extremely throttled the API requests to about 200 if I remember right. That 200 wasn’t even per user basis, it was on the entire API per developer basis. So my app was useless.

Then I had another app which used YouTube API. Google is notorious for deprecating useful endpoints in their APIs and that’s what they did last couple years. They removed access to basic stuff like access viewer history, watch later, playlists etc. Even things like subscriptions will break and they will take many months to fix any of that. You won’t even know things have broken until you wake up to 20 angry customer emails and 30 1 star reviews. Complete pain in the ass and I decided to shut my app down.

Then came Twitter API. As a company which is constantly having money problems, recently they announced major deprecations which will basically make all 3rd party apps useless:

Same thing is about to happen to Tweetbot and Twitteriffic:

Then the Instagram and Facebook shenanigans. They are the absolute worst and I have lost all faith in them as a developer. I had an Instagram analytics app (things like number of followers gained, lost, hashtag analytics etc). Stemming from the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal recently, Facebook and Instagram decided to completely shut down their API couple weeks ago leaving all the 3rd party apps useless.

Also when using APIs with user content, be careful about Intellectual Property and license issues if you plan on making any money from the business. The API terms of service might allow you access but users may not appreciate it. You can read up on my post on why I had to take down a Reddit client recently:

I am finding that all these tech companies first build their platform by utilizing 3rd party developers and once successful, they shutdown and betray the same developers. It’s a free market and they are all private companies without owing us anything so they can do whatever the fuck they want. But I would discourage building whole businesses around these APIs. Be careful. My $0.02.

**EDIT:** Please DO NOT private message or chat me asking about help with basic programming or API questions which you can google. I am really trying not to come off as a dick but even if I do, you are on the wrong sub if you can’t figure out how to do basic googling.



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