No more Chat Catcher

Photo by Chris Sternal-Johnson,

This is all a bit anti-climactic given that if you were an actual Chat Catcher user, you’ve known that the system was going away since at least October 20th, but the final day has come and gone.

Shannon Whitley, the creator of the Chat Catcher service, wrote in an email to all the users:

While it was fun to create multiple Twitter applications in 2008, Twitter’s extreme growth has made it tough for a single developer to manage this type of software project. Hosting, storage, and ongoing support costs are just too high to justify the continuation of a free service.

I really liked Chat Catcher, which I first discovered as a combination WordPress plugin and service back in 2008 – liked it so much I built a Drupal module for it.

The core value of Chat Catcher was that it turned tweets referencing URLs in your domain into trackbacks, essentially – by pinging you (via a defined web hook) whenever your domain was mentioned in a tweet, even if that URL had been run through a URL shortener.

While I know BackType has an API you can use to *request* all the tweets mentioning a given URL, that requires you to be constantly polling: much less efficient.

That said, what are the alternatives? Kris Buytaert started an issue on the Drupal module page looking for alternatives, and I mentioned a few WordPress plugins there – but I don’t think there are any external services which proactively reach out to your site rather than requiring you to constantly search twitter for your URLs.

Know of any?