Why did Pinterest remove its API documentation earlier this year? Well, apparently there is no rush to release an already developed API to the public yet. In fact, it may not be released for a while as Pinterest wants to avoid re-tweeting the #mistakes Twitter made in its infancy.
Twitter released its API when it was still an immature company, allowing developers to build applications with features that it was missing. When Twitter matured, and it wanted to control its platform, it began adding those features, thus damaging those developers
Once Twitter started competing with its developers, it lost a lot of trust and a lot of followers from the developer community. Pinterest doesn’t want to allow developers to build applications that it plans on building itself, and then threaten those developers with similar Pinterest features.
Take a look at Twitpic. It’s now threatened by Twitter native photo sharing. On the flipside, apps like Hootsuite still manage to pull in Small to Enterprise business audiences.
So how can Pinterest do things differently?
TheServerSide quotes WSO2’s Chris Haddad:
“Rather than rely solely on data APIs, we have seen forward-thinking organizations create ecosystem platforms revolving around user experience APIs and domain specific hosting environments. With user experience APIs, the platform company can create an ‘Apple experience’; maintaining customer ownership by controlling the ‘look and feel’ and by authorizing third party extensions.”
Pinterest can aim to be more Apple than Google–the ever infamous open vs. closed positioning theme– by keeping reigns on the look and feel of the platform its building depending on how they wish to grow and without being too closed off.
The social web has always been dependent on outside developers to keep things relevant. Without them, it’s possible there may be more open Pinterest-like apps popping up. Remember MySpace and Friendster? Some of the really innovative apps were what helped push Twitter into the mainstream after all.
Is Pinterest being more careful than smart?
This post first appeared on ProgrammableWeb.