Smyte Leaves Customers in the Lurch

Smyte and Twitter left dozens of the former’s clients out in the cold at the end of last month, shutting off the company’s API with half an hour’s notice following its acquisition by Twitter on June 21. Clients including Zendesk, Musical.ly, Indiegogo and Meetup were impacted by the disruption in service.

Smyte until its acquisition was a San Francisco-based SaaS provider of software to fight spam, abuse and fraud on social networks and marketplaces. The company was founded in 2014 and had raised over $6 million in investment according to Crunchbase, before being bought by Twitter for an undisclosed sum.

Twitter’s VP of Engineering Mike Montano explained (where else but on Twitter) that Twitter decided upon the sudden shutdown of the API when it discovered problems in Smyte’s operations during due diligence. “We determined we couldn’t operate their business and continue collecting data from their customers, while continuing to meet our own high internal standards as a global company,” Montano said in an internal company email he shared on Twitter. Many commenters on technology sites across the web viewed Montano’s words as corporate speak hinting that Smyte was not GDPR compliant and could have led to serious fines for Twitter had it continued its new acquisition’s service.

Instead, the startup took down its entire website and replaced it with a short notice announcing it was joining Twitter and shutting down its business “effective immediately.”

In reaction to the service cut, a well-known software developer proposed coining the word “to smyte” meaning “to expose one’s customers and friends to danger by withdrawing support without warning,” according to The Register.

“It is irresponsible, as a SaaS company, to fail to provide a migration path to your customers and adequate time to migrate if you are shutting down,” npm co-founder and COO Laurie Voss said on Twitter. npm was also a Smyte client.

Meanwhile, other fraud solution vendors in the market quickly sought to capitalize on Smyte’s abandonment of its client base by offering to help out companies looking for alternatives. Sift Science in particular released an online ad targeting Smyte’s former customers (see image on right).

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Author: Ronen Shnidman

Ronen Shnidman is the Head of Content at the chargeback management solution provider Justt. He has years of experience covering fraud and eCommerce both as a marketer and as a journalist. He was also involved in the establishment of About Fraud.