What happened to ICanStalkU?

As some of you may have noticed, ICanStalkU was down for a while, and came back with a new look and a few less features. For those of wondering what happened, lets set the wayback machine to last Wednesday, October 20th:

e-Mail: "This is a notice that your OAuth token for ICanStalkU has been suspended from interacting with the Twitter API."

Ben: "Oh, for %#$& sake..."

We were dead in the water. Our Twitter account was suspended, which while annoying, wasn't a big deal in the grant scheme of things. What killed us was the fact that we could not longer access the search API and therefore couldn't find photos. This left us with three options:

  1. Shake our fists at the sky, pack our saddle bags, and ride ICanStalkU into the sunset.
  2. Shake our fists at the sky, thumb our nose at the suspension, set up another account for API access, and try to keep ahead of any further suspensions.
  3. Shake our fists at the sky, contest the suspension, and remain dead in the water while Twitter does whatever they do.

We decided that we should cast the die with option #3 and see what happens. After a couple days we got a response. Turns out, Twitter caught wind of our little party and decided to set fire to our tree fort. Apparently you can't @-reply people on an automated basis even if you do it only once an hour (despite other accounts that do the same thing) and the ICanStalkU website violated the "API Terms of Service by appearing to modify the content of tweets from their original text to text that the user did not explicitly generate"

We disagreed with their findings, but since Twitter is master of their own domain, complaining would likely get us nowhere. So, we went the other route and attempted to find an amicable solution. What we came up with was two major changes:

  1. The account could no longer @-reply people.
  2. The website needed to be changed so that it no longer appeared to be a tweet stream (no avatars, no text appearing to come from a user, etc)

So, we went ahead and made the changes, took advantage of the downtime to make some changes on the back end, and threw the switch. We would like to give a shout out to Brian, who, once we had our account reviewed, worked with us quickly to resolve the situation.

So, we're back up, stalking folks, and hopefully suspension free for the foreseeable future.