Twitter has created its very own Dean’s List for vendors of Twitter-related products — everything from Twitter analytics to Twitter API licensing. Called Certified Products, the program aims to connect these Twitter-approved services with the brands and developers that need them most.

“We hear continually from companies looking for tools to help them engage with customers, understand what people are saying about them on Twitter, and learn more about their followers so they can share more valuable, timely content,” writes Twitter exec Doug Williams today on the company blog. “Meanwhile, there is a thriving ecosystem of Twitter developers building products and services that address these needs and help businesses grow. To make it easier for businesses to find the right tools, we’re launching the Twitter Certified Products Program.”

Certified Products is launching with 12 partners who, according to Twitter, represent the crème de la crème of companies focusing on Twitter engagement, analytics, and data.

Launch partners include ExactTarget, Hootsuite, Gnip (which has been close to Twitter for some time and is one of the only authorized resellers of the Twitter firehose), DataSift, SocialFlow, Radian6, Attensity, Crimson Hexagon, Dataminr, Mass Relevance, Topsy, and Sprinklr — all products that, according to Twitter, “make Twitter more valuable to businesses, encourage their use of Twitter, and bring Twitter to new users.”

In an email to VentureBeat, an Attensity spokesperson said that prior to the company’s official certification as well as currently, “Attensity is working closely with Twitter to help shape its Respond solution [a real-time conversation monitoring product] to fit the needs Twitter hears about from its brand, publishing, and media partners.”

Twitter said it expects the list of partners and verticals to grow in the near future and has issued an open call for program applicants. Program requirements include not directly competing with Twitter by duplicating its consumer services, bringing Twitter to new markets, and using Twitter’s platform rather than recreating the platform, among a few other criteria.

And of course, Certified Products all have to follow the new rules and guidelines for Twitter’s evolving API.

For some time now, in private meeting rooms and on public stages, Twitter has urged developers to make these kinds of products — noncompetitive products that would give their makers a real business opportunity. As we brace ourselves for a few apps and businesses being shut down in the “API apocalypse,” or whatever other melodramatic term you may prefer, it’s somewhat encouraging to see Twitter creating incentives for building the right kind of Twitter apps, not just punishments for building the wrong kind.

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