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Twitter To Buy TweetDeck For $40 Million – $50 Million (techcrunch.com)
127 points by acrum 2338 days ago | hide | past | web | 41 comments | favorite

Thoughts on whether Twitter will actually maintain Tweetdeck post-acquisition?

For me, I have a feeling they will mothball it for three reasons:

a) The aesthetic and visual approach of Tweetdeck doesn't fit in with the way Twitter wants its product used

b) Twitter are looking to staff up a London office, it would make sense to use Tweetdeck (based in London) as that office (EDIT: the implication being that said staff would work on Twitter related business, not Tweetdeck)

c) This was all about a tactical blocking of UberMedia, not a strategic product acquisition.

Regardless of what happens to the 'main' Tweetdeck product, the ancillary iPhone and Android apps must surely be slated to be shelved given they compete directly with Twitters existing offering... I can only assume this is good news for the other mobile apps out there, like TweetCaster for Android

TweetDeck is loved by it's audience, and Twitter has taken a lot of flack for breaking products recently. I think they'll leave them alone for the near future. TweetDeck presumably has a modest burn rate compared to Twitter, for it's impact.

I'm reminded of Alister Croll's article that "Twitter is a protocol, not a site" http://www.bitcurrent.com/twitters-not-a-site-its-a-protocol...

There is no reason why Tweetdeck couldn't co-exist with Twitter's main clients. Twitter power users are the ones who tweet the most and innovate the most. Think of RT, # tags, pictures. Having a bleeding edge product keeps the power users happy without alienating the existing users by moving their cheese all the time.

Problem is, Twitter don't see twitter as a protocol.

I bet that a lot of the internal discussion and hesitance within Twitter over the past couple of years has been around this very topic.

It seems that the product guys won the argument over the platform guys.

The problem now is that a large part of the reason why the product was successful is because of the platform and the dev ecosystem


or they could just directly insert their Promoted Products directly into the TweetDeck clients. TweetDeck was already a testing partner for their rev-share program. why make all those users mad when you can just stick your ads right in front of them?

TweetDeck might make sense as some sort of "Business or Pro" edition of Twitter

A company that doesn't make money buys another company that doesn't make money. The Silicon Valley economy exists entirely on its own with no relation to the "real world".

Twitter had revenue of $50M last year, and is projected to run $150M this year and $250M next[1]

In the past 12 months Twitter has built out an entire north american sales force lead by former FIM exec Adam Bain, who is v good at what he does. So those numbers are before any international expansion, and do not include API licensing (via Gnip)

It is very disingenuous and flat out wrong to write Twitter off as having no revenue. They have no profit, but the point of a company at their stage is not to book profits, it is to spend as much money to grow as quickly as possible (building that sales team alone isn't cheap - let alone infrastructure). If they were making money, the investors would sure as hell be asking why. This is simple startup economics where you have a company and product in hypergrowth.

Twitter is so ingrained in the mainstream conscious now. My non-tech family members and friends kept mentioning it all weekend in context of the royal wedding and the bin laden death. The cable news networks spent a lot of time just showing their viewers what is on twitter

It is here to stay at least for a little while, so time to throw out the 2009-era skepticism and false criticisms

As an aside, Tweetdeck are also healthy revenue wise. Healthy enough to be an 18 person company that last raised a small round a year ago and that can charge $50k per ad partner for placement[2]

[1] http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-01-24/twitter-s-ad-rev...

[2] http://techcrunch.com/2009/06/01/want-your-service-integrate...

I wonder if you could flesh out your thoughts on Gnip and other licensed API syndicators such as datasift/mediasift.

Gnip has shifted a bit. When it started out the purpose was to solve 'the friendfeed problem'[1] - which was that for each service friendfeed integrated with, they had to write an entire module to implement a client of that services API

The thinking was that Gnip would implement the client once, and then expose a standard interface so that a dev could integrate with all of these services using just a single API

The second part was that instead of polling, Gnip would push update data to you using XMPP or callbacks.

I think they found that there isn't that large a market for apps, at that time or this time anyway, that needed to integrate with a dozen or more services to make paying Gnip worthwhile

The second part solved itself through either pubsubhubbub or API's implementing their own callback.

Gnip downsized for a while, but saw a resurgence with the Twitter deal. It makes sense for Twitter to offload serving the API, implementing track, etc.

I think datasift is a bit different. Actually a bit more advanced since they support many more ways to slice and dice the data, analytics, and more. That space is more like hootsuite and the similar services - you want to mine social network data and extract key analytics. Gnip is more about making API consumption for apps easier.

Gnip has 50+ services, Datasift about 6 or 7 - so you can see where they are beginning to diverge.

When Gnip first launched, I spent a day with the team as part of covering the launch for techcrunch. My own conclusion at the time was that Gnip was a stop-gap measure between then and whenever the protocols such as PuSH would be stable enough to see wide adoption. There was also the element of outsourcing your API which didn't seem right - Mashery does something similar with outsourcing dev community, API tokens etc. But Gnip have proven otherwise with the twitter deal. (edit: for reasons why twitter would use them, see [4]

What could be interesting is Gnip has morphed into part of the old Gnip, with aggregation and normalization, plus something akin to Cloudflare but for API's - while datasift has become a datamining and analytics platform more for internal business use.

The space that Datasift is in will be huge. With Gnip I am still a bit indifferent only because I am implementing an app at the moment that talks to a dozen or so different API's and I couldn't see how I would use it or why I would pay for it, but the twitter firehose isn't one of hte API's (but twitter auth is - and Gnip, from what I know, doesn't touch auth at all)

As an aside: and interesting point in history is that when Gnip launched twitter totally rejected them, only later to give them access and then take it a step further with a full commercial partnership[2][3]. that was back when the twitter firehose was 5-6 tweets a second, it hit 5k a second yesterday

[1] http://www.techcrunchit.com/2008/06/26/the-new-datastream-ag...

[2] http://www.techcrunchit.com/2008/07/18/battle-over-twitter-o...

[3] http://techcrunch.com/2008/07/18/twitter-plays-nice-xmpp-fir...

[4] http://www.readwriteweb.com/hack/2010/11/why-is-twitter-part...

I hope you weren't serious here.

Go on..

Not only does Twitter make money, but TweetDeck raised it's first round of funding little over 2 years ago - it isn't ridiculous to spend that long building a product before monetization. No need to be so down on this.

Raising money is not making money. You give up a % of your company when you get funded.

What makes you think that Twitter isn't profitable, or at least has some incoming cash flow that isn't pumped in by VC or the secondary market?

I'll bite. Here's why I don't think Twitter is profitable or will be:

1) No ads. I don't see any now. "But, they can add advertisements later!" No they can't. Adding advertisements to Twitter will destroy their brand and everything that makes them "cool."

2) No clear picture on their profits and revenue. Profitable companies or companies with a solid revenue model have nothing to hide. There's no reason to hide your money situation if you're successful or have a successful strategy. Twitter doesn't. Their strategy relies on selling to the VC community, not selling to users.

3) Buying up competitors before you're posting profits means twitter's only asset (users) are hard to maintain control of.

Twitter already has ads thought, and has had them for a while now.

Promoted Tweets.

From what I've read, I don't believe their current monetization techniques are making anywhere near enough money to equal what's been pumped in from funders.

Probably not, but income is income.

1, 3) Fair points.

2) Promoted tweets, api firehose. Their tries at adding ads to twitter certainly sucked, though.

There's that whole "metadata" part of a tweet that goes largely unused. It could carry an ad payload displayed on certain clients.

Perhaps on Tweetdeck, as a random example.

TweetDeck had ~10% of Twitters user base as users, and they sold for a mere $50M. This should speak volumes about "not being someones bitch."

...or not being in a market where no one knows how to make money. The best exits are for the companies that don't need to.

TweetDeck could make barrels of money if Twitter allowed them to run adverts. (of some capacity)

Tweetdeck could run adverts just fine, Twitter just didn't want them running them in a sketchy in-stream manner, which I think is fair since their whole app just sits on top of Twitter.

And running adverts wouldn't destroy a huge portion of the userbase?

This also means that Twitter could now have, if it chooses, an official branded client that runs on Windows.

When they announced Twitter for Mac, they said:

"We acquired atebits with a focus on launching our own Twitter iPhone application. Since then, we’ve been asked repeatedly for a new version of Tweetie for Mac. We decided that the new version fits well into our goal of ensuring that mainstream users will have the best possible experience on popular platforms."

Mobile platforms may be the future, and an OS X client allows them to show off a bit and gain influential users, but the sheer size of the Windows user-base is not to be sniffed at.

It's nuts to see the bird icon I made coupled with a product go this far. Go Tweetdeck! :)

Could some share his opinion about other players in the Twitter ecosystem? I am thinking about Seesmic that has acquried ping.fm, is bonding heavily with Salesforce.com.

Are they still a relevant player in the field?

TweetDeck is also the only mainstream Twitter client I could find that supports Identi.ca (and other federated Status.net derivatives).

I'm betting on s/is/was/ very soon.

Also Google Buzz (yes, I'm one of its four users). And even aside from that, on Android it's easily my favorite Twitter client, and now my only hope is that one or more of those alternatives or Dave Winer's latest project or something else will save us from Twitter.

FWIW, Buzz has a far better S/N ratio than twitter: I find people like Terence Tao, in particular, to be particularly insightful when they're not hampered by a 140 character limit.

Ubermedia really got screwed on this one.

They went from having significant leverage and controlling a lot of tweeting marketshare...to losing all that.

Twitter is awesome and all but should focus on some sort of revenue to pay back investors...

I am still trying to guess how they are going to generate revenue, without loosing "followers"

I really hope twitter decides to keep developing tweet deck...

The day Twitter reports MAKING $50 million dollars rather than SPENDING $50 million dollars will cause celebration on the streets filled with champagne and delight...until then, they're just a giant spam channel with a lot of VC

"Twitter Inc. will probably more than triple its advertising revenue to $150 million this year as more companies use it to spread marketing messages, according to Internet researcher EMarketer Inc."


Gross revenue means nothing, profit is the only thing that matters. Considering they have $360 million[1] in VC, and no mention of actual profitability after 5 years, they're pretty high on the "Most Successful Failures" list still.

1. http://www.crunchbase.com/company/twitter

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