Tag Archives: tweetdeck

Twitter And The API Decision

You might have read or heard about the Twitter brouhaha last week.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

No, not another politician sending pictures of his undies.  Twitter announced that they are going to restrict the use of their API and due to that a bunch of companies are going to have big problems.  While I realize that this entire discussion might be a bit of inside baseball for you non-tech business folks, I think the decision Twitter made is instructive no matter what business you’re in.

Basically, Twitter announced a bunch of restrictions on the number of times an application can access the Twitter stream.  You can read the details on Twitters developer blog but suffice it to say that anyone who makes a traditional Twitter client – Storify, Echofone, TweetBot, etc. – is going to have some issues.  These folks compete with Twitter’s own app (both the regular Twitter client and TweetDeck, which they own) for ad dollars and part of what Twitter announced was the division of the Twitter world into four quadrants.  One of those is “consumer engagement” and while Twitter is trying to encourage competition and business building for analytics and B2B, it wants to ” limit certain use cases that occupy the upper-right quadrant.”  In other words, restrict anything that interferes with their ad-supported business model.

I understand why Twitter is doing this.  After all, it’s their data (even if the users are creating the content).  However, I think they’ve got it backwards.  Rather than protecting themselves in a very difficult, competitive area (ad sales), maybe they should have focused their revenue efforts on the folks who are making money themselves (the analytics and other B2B guys).  They’re saying they welcome development on their platform as long as it avoids their core revenue model, which is consumer experience enhanced with advertisements.  In my mind, setting up a bigger toll booth in front of the folks who remarket the data for large fees makes more sense.  It’s the Willie Sutton rule – go where the money is.  Twitter has no competition when it comes to the folks using their data to drive their product while there is plenty of competition in the ad world – Twitter isn’t yet a “must” buy.

That sort of decision-making comes up in many businesses from time to time and I think a long look at what Twitter chose is instructive. What do you think?

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Two More Trends

I wrote last week about 10 trends to watch coming out of the BMO Capital Markets Advertising and Marketing Conference and told you I’d be going into detail on each. Here are the next two trends to watch – Coordinating Connections and Transactional Marketing.
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Facts and Findings

Good example in the last 24 hours of why we always need to question statistics.  Since these concern Twitter, I’ll keep this brief although not 140 characters.  Multiple sources got themselves in a frenzy yesterday buy publishing, as did one source, the following:

Traffic to Twitter continues to decline as the microblogging site seems to have passed its peak in popularity, according to data aggregated by eMarketer. Nielsen has traffic to Twitter.com down by a dramatic 27.8% between September and October 2009, falling to 18.9 million unique visitors. comScore claims unique visitors to the site are down by 8.1% in October. Compete reports a 2.1% decline during the month.

Wow.  Twitter has jumped the shark.  Short the stock.  Number don’t lie, right?  Well, if you read the same source this morning, wrong:

Disclaimer to those Twitter stats we published yesterday: the figures just include unique visitors to the Twitter web site and do not include third-party application or mobile phone usage, according to Nielsen. That’s not to say that apps that feed into the Twitter community such as TweetDeck, TwitPic, Tumblr, etc. aren’t also losing followers, however. Nielsen studied audience retention on a number of those apps last April and found that about 60% of users who try these services end up abandoning them after one month – about the same abandonment ratio as on Twitter.com.

Well, we all know that there is a large abandon rate for many new apps and services as users try them until them settle on the one with which they’re most comfortable and which accomplishes whatever task to their satisfaction.  I’ve been through a bunch of Twitter interfaces just as I’ve tried and abandoned several niche social networks, different browser add-ins, and even makes of PC over the years.  One quick look at the tweets I get from the folks I follow shows a wide diversity of clients, very few of which are the Twitter interface itself.

The lesson?  Don’t take research at face value.  Ask questions, especially the ones not asked in the research itself.  Those are my thoughts.  What are yours?

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