In the two weeks since I announced the shutdown of Twit Cleaner, the following has happened:

I’ve personally responded to:

  • Somewhere between 3-4000 Twitter messages (I figure, if people cared enough to comment, they deserved a response)
  • 200-ish blog comments
  • 50+ emails
  • a stack of meetings and proposals of various seriousness/ridiculousness (“You should write Angry Birds, but on a zipline! It’d be easy! We’ll make millions!”)

On top of that, I had offers from two different “competitors” (of sorts), to buy, variously – the domain, the traffic, the email list (ie, all your email addresses), and the Twitter account. One offered a trivial amount, in exchange for wanting me to spam you all, three times a day for three months.

Uhh. Yeah, really.

Needless to say, I told them (politely) to bite the wax tadpole.

Possibly Replacement Services

Unfortunately, despite looking, I haven’t found any other services that with good conscience I can point you to as a reasonable replacement.

There are a dozen services that do the basics – who’s not following you back, who’s left Twitter (although be warned here – Twitter gives false information; a lot of these services tell you WAY more people have left than Twit Cleaner would have, because I very carefully checked this data several times, to compensate for Twitter’s unreliability).

There are no services that go to the depth that Twit Cleaner did.

Why not? Simply because doing that requires an absolute ton of data. Getting that data is no longer possible in a reasonable timeframe. Thus, any service that could have done this would have had to shut down, same as I did.

The Source Code

Regarding the code-base. I’ve had several people suggest (*cough*demand*cough*) I open-source the whole lot, “so people could run their own reports” (aka “You’ve spent 10,000 hours writing this, give it to me for free!”).

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t practical. Twit Cleaner consists of several hundred database tables (many of which require specific maintenance processes to keep them operational and performant), and a dozen different processes all carefully balanced and interacting.

Additionally, the problems I had getting data from Twitter are actually worse if you only have access to a single account (because a lot of what I did was only possibly by spreading data requests across tens if not hundreds of accounts – but shh, don’t tell Twitter that. It may have been a little naughty).

In a nutshell, the core reason Twit Cleaner has closed is because data access has dropped to 111-333 times smaller.

I do plan to roll my core Twitter library changes back into python-twitter (mainly more robust error handling code), if the maintainers want them. I’ll also be writing a post or two about some of the more subtle maintenance techniques I had to figure out to keep Twit Cleaner running. I’m sure they won’t be a surprise to the MySQL gurus out there, but other beginners might find them helpful.

What’s Left?

It’s nearing the end of the month, so the server will be shut down this weekend (otherwise I have to pay server fees for another month). I’ll be moving the blog over to another server (same domain, different hardware, different ip address), but all Twit Cleaner related services will cease once that happens. Which means you only have a couple of days left to do any last minute cleaning, if you still have a report sitting around.

I will keep blogging here. There are still a few things worth saying in this space. Plus, of course, I’ll still be keeping you alerted to trials and tribulations in Twitter land, over at @TwitCleaner.