Twilio Introduces Twilio Connect, Its New In-App Billing Model

Kin Lane
Sep. 21 2011, 10:00AM EDT

At TwilioCon in San Francisco today, Twilio is unveiling a new billing system for its API. This new in-app billing solution is called "Twilio Connect," and it provides a much simpler model for developers to implement customer billing when it comes to recurring charges for SMS and phone calls.

Twilio Connect is modeled after OAuth insofar as it provides a simple two-step flow that developers can use to set up Twilio accounts for their application users. Twilio Connect puts the responsibility for all voice and SMS charges into an application user's Twilio account, instead of the developer's Twilio account.

Developers can embed the Twilio Connect button in their apps, and users then click on the button and are they taken to a secure Twilio page where they enter their name, billing info, and email. The application is then provided with a token which, combined with a Twilio developer's key, enables all SMS and voice billing to occur directly between Twilio and the app user.

Twilio has worked to make coding against the API as easy possible, and now it wants to make billing just as easy. If developers choose to implement Twilio Connect, they won’t have to worry about client billing or clients' API usage. Developers can focus on what they do best: building apps.

This type of flow has worked well for account authorization using OAuth, and so it makes sense that it would work for billing authorization as well. Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson says, “We’ve taken all best from OAuth including security, but have left out the complexity developers often associate with using OAuth.”

When it comes to APIs, Twilio is the leader in providing the tools and support that makes developers' lives easier, increasing their potential for success. While Twilio Connect is not a model that will work for all developers, I predict it will be a hit with both developers and businesses who use Twilio services, allowing them to better handle billing for cloud-based SMS and telephony.

Disclosure: Twilio is a ProgrammableWeb sponsor

Kin Lane I am a programmer and entrepreneur, with a focus on the business of APIs. I study how APIs are changing the business landscape, and the rise of API driven developer ecosystems. I share my insights by blogging on API Evangelist and ProgrammableWeb, and put into action as API evangelist for CityGrid.

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