API limitations & fluctuations lead to the end of social insights tool ThinkUp

The changing permission (& API) tides have sunk ThinkUp, the social insights tool started by Anil Dash & Gina Trapani.

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If you build your house on someone else’s land, you have to abide by their rules. ThinkUp, a social insights tool, has learned this the hard way.

ThinkUp was built upon the ability to analyze friend data, and its access to this data has been stifled, with more doom and gloom on the horizon. The end result of the data limitations is the closure of the promising service that was started in 2013 by Anil Dash and Gina Trapani.

A big API shift started last year with a Facebook change that dropped age and gender from the mix. ThinkUp then hit another roadblock this month with Instagram’s additional security. This June change included more focused terms and a new permissions review process.

Furthermore, a new change is coming to Twitter’s API this fall (This change doesn’t appear to hinder access) that will require additional changes to the ThinkUp platform.

This is the unfortunate reality of building a solution that leverages other platforms. Uncertainty and instability are normal. A few changes can severely stunt the effectiveness, while also adding mounds of required work. This is a sound argument on why many companies choose to own their own data and communities. It’s something to consider before starting up a new app or building a tool that relies on the data from another company.

For more information on Dash’s decision to close the service, read the full Medium post. Current users of the social tool will be refunded, and their data won’t be sold.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Greg Finn
Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides world-class social media and search marketing services and web & application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 10+ years and specializes in Digital Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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