Tipjoy API Idea #2: Paid Protected accounts
People use Twitter to spread links to cool things. Some of those links could be really valuable:
- Early access to blog posts, before they hit the front page
- Links to coupons for discounts on other services
- Secrets from an authoritative, though perhaps anonymous, group
- Thoughts from renown thinkers, who would rather get cash to donate to a charity than have everyone follow them
We think there should be an easy way to power paid protected accounts, where followers could gain access by tweeting a payment. You can easily build a service which lets people make paid protected accounts with Tipjoy's Twitter Payments API. Here is how:
You'll need the Twitter credentials for both the protected account and those who are following it. Let the protected account customize the price, and give them a landing page on your service to customize where potential followers go to pay for access. Create Tipjoy accounts for the protected account and the new followers.
The status updates for the target account should be protected. Ideally this would be done with a Twitter API call, but that doesn't appear to exist for this functionality. Instead, you can send protected-account creators to their Twitter Account Settings page to do this.
For the new followers, after they have Tipjoy accounts, they pay to subscribe. First, initiate a payment over Twitter. It should be directed to the account to be followed. It could also be directed at the permalink on the service for the protected user, e.g. http://paid_twitter_account.com/ikirigin for @ikirigin. If not directed at the protected user, periodic payouts to that user from the service could be used to transfer the funds over. If the service were to take a cut, this would be one way to take it: just reduce the payout. Alternatively, if you want payments go straight to the protected account, just periodically initiate payments from the protected account to the service.
Check if transaction has been paid just by looking at the return from the payment API call. If it hasn't, create a sign-in link that sends the user to http://tipjoy.com/buyMore to pay their bill. (Soon, we'll create a Tipjoy API endpoint to provide credit card information to associate with the user, so the payment fufillment step would only need to occur once for all transactions for the user.)
Track the payment if it was unpaid using this call.
Once the transaction is paid, use the Twitter API to request to follow the paid account. Approve the follower using a Twitter API call. This also might not exist yet, but we hear they are working on it. The alternative till then is to give the protected account easy management tools to know whom to approve.
You can get a batch listing of the payments sent to the protected account using this call.