Introduction | FriendFeed | Twitter | Facebook
When Dave Winer read Louis Gray's post on FriendFeed, Winer had his own observations on FriendFeed marketing, as I noted earlier. He ended up comparing FriendFeed to Twitter.
They may not be aware of it, but Twitter didn't just wait for people to come to them, they put up displays all over SXSW in 2007 to boot up with that community, who already knew them from Blogger days, to be the first core group of users of the service. I could see it happen, even though I wasn't part of the service then, and I wasn't at SXSW. FriendFeed hasn't done anything like this as far as I know.
Now the FriendFeed principals were also well-known, but they didn't do a huge conference splash like Twitter did. But, as FriendFeed user Mona N noted in a thread that I started, Twitter's marketing campaign faltered due to subsequent poor performance.
But after SXSW was the FailWhale fiasco - the service (Twitter) just wasn't ready.
Let's face it, Twitter has received a ton of press. Initially they got good press, then they got bad press, and now they appear to be getting good press again. And they're getting users, according to this independent assessment dated September 21, 2008:
On June 29, 2008 I wrote on this blog that Twitter reached 2 million users - according to Twitdir. Twitter has passed another milestone a few days ago, 3 million users. As Twitdir only "knows" Twitter users with a public profile, the actual number of Twitter users is higher....
So Twitter has more word-of-mouth than FriendFeed, and it has more users than FriendFeed. But does this mean that it has better marketing than FriendFeed? Not yet.
Marketing a product encompasses a lot of things, including that itty bitty little thing known as pricing. Even when people stopped complaining about the Twitter "fail whale," they continued to complain about the lack of a visible monetization strategy. If Twitter isn't getting any revenue, then can we rely on Twitter to be there two years down the road? Here's something that was just written today:
We don’t even really know where to start with Twitter, it’s the only social media site that has no competitors by choice, not by barriers....[I]t literally takes about an hour or two to build a Twitter competitor, the problem is no one wants to compete to the bottom, as there is no revenue model for Twitter.
It appears that at least 100 firms have figured a way to make money from Twitter, other than Twitter itself.
But they're working on the problem, as Michael Arrington at TechCrunch noted in December:
Twitter recently posted a Product Manager job description at Jobscore.
The primary responsibility: “Define products and feature sets of commercial-oriented Twitter applications.” The description goes on: “As Twitter’s first product manager focused on revenue generation, you will play a defining role in the formulation of Twitter’s business. Your job will be to lead the definition and execution of the products and features that will lead to monetization of the Twitter platform.”
Got an idea as to how Twitter can turn on the cash spigot? Send in your resume.
Well, I went to Jobscore, and it appears that they're still taking applications for the position. Perhaps they'll hire someone from a larger company, such as...Facebook? Sphere: Related Content