Twitter remembers it owns TweetDeck

It’s been six years since Twitter acquired TweetDeck, but the company might finally bring new features to the client.

In a survey sent to some power users today, Twitter asked which features they would most like to see added to an “advanced” version of TweetDeck. After that, respondents were asked if they’d be willing to pay for a more full-featured version of a client that otherwise has been mostly forgotten.

A brief history of TweetDeck neglect

Twitter acquired TweetDeck for $40 million back in 2011, at a time that was particularly fraught for developers building mobile and desktop clients that competed with Twitter’s own. Just two months earlier, Twitter’s then-head of platform Ryan Sarver had warned developers to stop making Twitter clients and focus instead on complementary apps and services.

In that respect, TweetDeck being bought was probably preferable to having its API access shut off and dying a slow death. But those who hoped TweetDeck would be the basis for a more robust Twitter client for power users would end up being sorely disappointed.

While Twitter never officially killed off TweetDeck, the product has languished from lack of development over the last several years. It got a small update in late 2012, but since then has seen features slowly disappear or fail to keep pace with features that were added to Twitter’s official clients. First mobile TweetDeck clients disappeared, and later the native Windows client was discontinued.

Still, despite lack of internal support, TweetDeck maintains a fairly passionate user base on the Web and its Mac desktop app. And, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, Twitter is threatening to make the client a paid subscription client for power users.

Ranking valuable features

TweetDeck users who participated in the survey were asked which features they might find most helpful if added to the client. That includes things like advanced charts, follower analytics, breaking news alerts, mobile and desktop management, ability to change the color scheme and multiple account switching.

Survey respondents were also asked how much or how little they would pay for the client. While Andrew Tavani, who publicly shared his questions from the survey, was asked if he would pay $19.99 monthly, TechCrunch director of audience development Travis Bernard was asked if he would pay $4.99 for a premium version of the app. It’s likely that Twitter is testing various prices to see how users respond.

Some view the survey as a sign Twitter is considering developing a new revenue stream beyond advertising, which has started to lag in recent quarters. But Twitter says that isn’t the case.

After news of the survey got out, Twitter issued the following statement on its plans:

“We’re conducting this survey to assess the interest in a new, more enhanced version of TweetdDeck. We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people’s Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we’re exploring several ways to make TweetDeck even more valuable for professionals.”