Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HootSuite’s Achilles’ Heel

At long last, I have finally figured out why I can’t post to Facebook reliably from HootSuite. It took some doing to figure that out. You can read about it here, be sure to view the comments as HootSuite responded multiple times to my post about this issue.

HootSuite is a cloud-based service meaning the software and processes happen on their servers. This is one of their selling points because you don’t have to install the software on every machine but can access the software and data through the internet. The one catch is the software doesn’t update the data. If you make a change to your streams on your iPhone, those changes are not automatically reflected in your other apps or platforms. Perhaps they will get there someday.

The issue with this approach in regards to Facebook, as pointed out in the comments from my last post on this is that all traffic goes through HootSuite’s servers and is viewed by Facebook as a single connection. As a result, if there is too much traffic going to Facebook then users are blocked.

Here is what HootSuite posted on my previous blog post:
When people communicate through HootSuite to Facebook, they're going through a centralized server that parses the API calls. If Facebook hits a certain limit (we don't know what this limit is) from a certain profile, they will hit "the wall" so to speak -- and will be unable to send messages to Facebook until a certain time.

When people install a client like TweetDeck on their computer, they're not going through a centralized server. Rather, their computer is communicating directly with Facebook's API. To be frank, they still are being ratelimited, but the results may be skewed due to not communicating through a centralized server.

The advantage of parsing through a centralized server is that, no matter where you are in the world, you can log into HootSuite and know that the same messages you have scheduled will be visible in your Publisher queue. Hence, there is no need to install HootSuite on multiple machines since HootSuite is a service that is offered "in the cloud".
That isn’t well documented anywhere that I can find on HootSuite’s support and help sites.

To me this is a major issue as my reliability of use is directly affected by how much all the other users are posting.

I can think of several programming fixes that would address this and I hope HootSuite spends some time figuring it out. Until they do, I will still have to use TweetDeck as a backup for when I’m limited in posting to Facebook through no fault of my own.