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TMFEditorsDesk (< 20)

Twitter's growth projections are LOL, ROFL, LMAO, TMI-ridiculous

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July 16, 2009 – Comments (6)

So according to TechCrunch's "stolen [Twitter] documents": 

TechCrunch didn't publish the full spreadsheet, but says it put Twitter's 2013 revenues at $1.54 billion on 1 billion users, 5,200 employees with $111 million in net earnings. 

1 billion users, eh? Let's put that in perspective. Facebook has 250 million active users right now. One out of every seven or so people would have to be on Twitter in 2013 for that projection to be true.  That assumes the whole world has Internet access...right now only 1.7 billion people do (at least according to what I could find on the web).

And even if they get the billion users, they're only making $1.54 per user per year...that's really weak monetization.

But before we get too carried away, it's important to note what twitter cofounder Biz Stone said in a blog post ( http://blog.twitter.com/2009/07/twitter-even-more-open-than-we-wanted.html ):

Obviously, these docs are not polished or ready for prime time and they're certainly not revealing some big, secret plan for taking over the world.

These documents could have been version 2 out of 53. The estimates could have wild guesses that have been revised massively downward.  But if those estimates are anywhere near current, it's time for version 54... 

- Anand (whose Twitter account is what biologists would term a "vestigial structure")

PS. Thank you to Fellow Fool Jeremy Phillips for forwarding the original article and sharing his thoughts. 

http://www.businessinsider.com/stolen-documents-show-twitter-expected-140-million-revenues-in-2010-2009-7

 

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On July 16, 2009 at 7:06 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

Twitter is the next crocks.  Droves of people will follow the same course of events: "Whats that?  COOL!  I want one!  OK this is stupid."  Right now we're in the "I want one!" phase.  I give it 6 months to a year or popularity before the next big social networking site comes out.

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#2) On July 16, 2009 at 8:28 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.12) wrote:

I tweet. :)  I've been testing the tweety waters for a few days. Quit trying to make it less cool before I get a chance to see what it can do. :P

I find it immensely funny that I'm on there, since I don't even own a cell phone, but it actually seems to provide a pretty convenient means for posting links to my articles and blogs for readers to follow. I found it way more user-friendly than that Delicious bookmarking site. 

I can see how it could become an effective marketing tool, but of course those numbers you cited are completely laughable.

I can't help lamenting what this and similar online social phenomena will do to peoples' grammar and use of language over time. Will people truly start to speak in acronyms? That would be like, OMG!

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#3) On July 16, 2009 at 10:48 PM, TMFBritcodeftw (59.28) wrote:

They may end up with a billion users, but 70% will be robots, zombies, auto spam, brainless advertising, and phishing boats. Basically, one day it will be Myspace. Facebook will go that way first, though. I think there's a lot of money to be made on Twitter if they get their act together in the short term, but it won't be the next google. There's just too much room for faliure and abuse. At least the venture capital should help keep the fail whale submerged more often.

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#4) On July 16, 2009 at 10:57 PM, TMFRhino (97.64) wrote:

That 1 billion number is a figure of fantasy. I mean, even if this is the roughest draft ever, there's still no way Twitter could get well in excess of 50% of worldwide internet users on it.

Twitter requires too much "action" to be engrained within the community. With Facebook you can set up a profile, slowly accumulate friends and easily connect. Call it a matter of opinion, but I find the Facebook UI is much better set up for this kind of semi-passive use. IE the kind of use that can attract a billion active users.

However, on Twitter most users have to get involved and actively comment and tweet back and forth to get a "following" and not be relegated to tweeting in small bursts about how they’re cooking some blueberry waffles for breakfast to their captive audience of 5 followers. People will often friend someone they don't know well on Facebook to be able to maintain a limited connection or know more about them (Or… narcissism). However, I doubt those users are as interested, or would maintain the same interest level, in following stream-of-consciousness Tweets from the same person they barely know.

So what I’m essentially trying to say is that Facebook (the direct comparison with 250 million users) appears to me to be a platform that’s built in a much more effective manner for achieving the high user count Twitter aspires to. Not to say there aren’t users who’ve found a great niche for spreading content and news on Twitter, I just don’t think the casual user will maintain interest in it for long.

And the numbers seem to back that up, here’s some stats on Twitters users:

http://mashable.com/2009/06/10/twitter-users-inactive/

* 79.79% failed to provide a homepage URL
* 75.86% of users have not entered a bio in their profile
* 68.68% have not specified a location
* 55.50% are not following anyone
* 54.88% have never tweeted
* 52.71% have no followers

http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/twitter-users-dont-tweet/

10% of users responsible for 90% of Tweets.

Etc.

The retort would that some users don’t tweet a lot but actively follow others. Feel that way if you will, but I have a hard time believing these users will stick with the service as some kind of pseudo-RSS reader. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but feel Twitter is a fad akin to the “Pet Rocks” of yesteryear…Well, except the fact “Pet Rock” rocks actually generated more than zero dollars in revenue. It’s yet to be seen whether Twitter can do that.   

--  Eric

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#5) On July 16, 2009 at 11:28 PM, tradingfool1 (34.10) wrote:

Maybe they got the Christmas Wish List?  Or it is a sales spiel for investors who don't bother with DD.

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#6) On July 17, 2009 at 9:34 AM, TMFCHarris (99.62) wrote:

"* 54.88% have never tweeted"

Can we really call them "Twitter users" if they don't, uh, use the service?

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