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Twitter forces Twitpic to pull the plug on the photo sharing app



twitpic_350x350It’s hard to believe, but prior to 2011 you had to have a third party app if you wanted to share a photo on Twitter. And for the longest time, the app you were likely to use was Twitpic.

From 2008 to 2011, everyone used Twitpic including some very popular social media celebrities such as William Shatner, Kayne, Charlie Sheen and Paris Hilton (oh the memories. . . ).

The cool thing about Twitpic was that it also functioned as a photo album. People could visit your profile page and skim through your entire visual history. Here’s what Jessica Alba had for lunch 1043 days ago.

Seriously, Twitpic opened out eyes to more than just what celebrities have for lunch. It allowed millions of ordinary people to instantaneously share images of extraordinary things like this:

Twitpic plane crash
Twitpic really did change the way we see the world but then Twitter added the ability to share photos without a third party app and the world changed again.

This morning, Twitpic founder Noah Everett announced that he was being forced to pull the plug on his dream project. For the past five years, Everett has been trying to get a trademark. He was at the ‘published for opposition’ stage when Twitter decided it was time to oppose.

A few weeks ago Twitter contacted our legal demanding that we abandon our trademark application or risk losing access to their API. This came as a shock to us since Twitpic has been around since early 2008, and our trademark application has been in the USPTO since 2009. . .

Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.

I can see both sides of this. Twitter has a right to protect its brand. When another company uses a similar name it implies a connection that simply doesn’t exist. Plus, Twitter doesn’t want to see other companies profiting off the brand they built. That might sound mean but you probably wouldn’t think so if the tables were turned and someone was riding your coattails.

On the other hand, Twitpic has been around for a long time. It rose to fame on its own merits. I have to wonder if things would be different had they named the company something else like Noahpic! The way the blog post reads, Twitpic could continue to do business under another name but is it worth it? With the way the social media landscape has changed – obviously not.

I was a Twitpic user back in the day but stopped when Twitter added the photo option. Still, I’m sorry to see it go. It was a part of social media history.

Funny thing, my husband just texted me to say that one of our favorite restaurants went out of business. It was open last week and now it’s gone for good. Tough times for everyone.

  • http://www.andybeal.com/ Andy Beal

    I suspect this was the first warning shot to Twitpic from Twitter. Even if they changed their name, they have functionality that Twitter offers natively, so likely Twitter would pull their API access at some point anyway. A preemptive shutdown, perhaps?