Twitter has today announced its Certified Products Program. The program will be used to put its stamp of approval on apps and services that help companies leverage its data to engage with customers.

Twitter is launching the service with twelve partners, all of which help companies parse Twitter data in various ways. The Twitter firehose is only accessible to a few of these apps that we can see, others like Hootsuite are more about account management than data collection. But the big-picture focus is giving companies tools that Twitter has vetted and that will give them a better way to sift through the millions of bits of data that pass through the service every day.

three cert prod badges 520x164 Twitter launches Certified Products Program to promote services that leverage its data

The three categories

Twitter sorts these companies into three separate categories: Engagement, Analytics and Data resellers.

Engagement companies like Sprinklr let companies pair up with customers in ways that help them create a feeling of being in-touch with their following. This can help to boost their customer service profile online and to respond to escalating issues more quickly and en-masse.

In the Analytics category, Twitter points to Crimson Hexagon, though Topsy, Dataminr and Mass Relevance also fit in here. Dumping millions of tweets into a basket and reading them out doesn’t always make sense for big companies. Many times the contextual importance of the data is lost and trends over time are difficult to track. These companies map the data and visualize it in ways that look good on boardroom slides.

Some companies just want chunks of data surrounding certain dates, events or accounts and that’s where Gnip and DataSift come in. They resell data from the Twitter firehose to companies that do analysis. A company analyzing the responses to a recent government public policy change or a media event like the Olympics would want to track down one of these companies to slice off a bit of the data to use for their own internal analysis.

Here’s a list of the current partners:

What Twitter wants from Certified Products

Twitter’s developer blog says that it’s looking for more partners as the program moves forward. “If you have a unique product that fits in at least one of the product verticals, solves a market need and has the potential for a large impact,” says Twitter platform team member Seth Bindernagel, “please get in touch.”

The requirements for the partnership are laid out in a new document on Twitter’s site. The guidelines require that developers ‘follow the rules’ when it comes to trademarks, display, the newly updated API rules and more. Twitter also lists a set of guidelines that speak to the recent unpleasantness with Twitter clients:

  • Make Twitter more valuable to businesses and solve a need that Twitter does not address
  • Help bring Twitter to new or underserved markets
  • Twitter is a core part of your product and you make use of all applicable APIs and features
  • Integrations behave as consistently as possible with Twitter’s own products
  • Encourage meaningful engagement with the Twitter network
  • You are working on an opportunity with significant impact
  • Use Twitter Platform products rather than creating similar products
Once again, Twitter makes clear that any product looking to gain entry into the ranks of the Certified Product listing needs to be doing something that Twitter doesn’t already do. Twitter doesn’t want partners using its data to create products that are already being made by Twitter itself.

Our own Martin Bryant investigated the pros of a program very much like this one a couple of weeks ago, though he was more focused on developers building Twitter apps.

A focus on using Twitter data, not creating new ways to view it

As far as Twitter is concerned, it already has the canonical viewing experience down. Its official apps for iPhone, Android, Web and more are the way that people should be viewing the content on Twitter.

The requirements for partners and the initial list of approved products say it all. Twitter wants companies to use its data and to contribute to the perception of Twitter as a resource for gathering realtime information, it doesn’t want them to become alternate portals for viewing Twitter content.