Why did Topsy shut down?

January 6 2016
Published in Opinions

Topsy’s sudden shut-down back in December may have come as a shock to many, but considering that it was bought by Apple back in 2013, its demise was a long time coming.

Topsy was a very popular tool, and its disappearance has left fans wondering why Apple put a stop to the service. To get a better understanding of why Topsy was shut down, we need to look to Twitter.

Topsy’s buyout in 2013

In December 2013 Apple bought Topsy for 200 million dollars, without publishing any kind of explanation. There were a lot of theories going around as to why the purchase was made, but I think that technology and talent acquisition is the most credible. Why? Because Topsy’s ability to process billions of tweets in real time is a real technological achievement, and its acquisition will help Apple to heighten its big data capabilities. The shut-down of Topsy’s free service, which now redirects to “Use search on your iPhone” helps to confirm this theory.

Why didn’t Apple shut down Topsy’s free service at the same time as Topsy pro in 2014?

Once the buyout was complete, keeping Topsy.com going held no advantages for Apple; both services could have been shut down immediately. However, Topsy has been partnered with Twitter for a very long time, and is used by a lot of marketing professionals and journalists. Back in December 2013, Twitter’s ecosystem wasn’t as well-developed as it is today. It’s entirely possible that when Apple bought Topsy, an agreement was made with Twitter to keep the free service going for an allotted time, to allow the company to develop tools to fill the gap it would leave behind.

why put a stop to Topsy’s free service now?

Two years on, Twitter has had time to structure its ecosystem. The company purchased Gnip in 2014 to provide a professional API for the creators of data analysis platforms such as Visibrain. Twitter also improved its search engine and developed tools for journalists such as Curator, set up in October 2015. With these new tools, Twitter no longer depends on Topsy to keep its community satisfied: it was time for the service to be shut down.

Jean-Christophe Gatuingt, co-founder of Twitter monitoring platform Visibrain.

Available since 2011, Visibrain is used by digital marketing and PR professionals for corporate image management and crisis prevention.

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Published in Opinions