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Archives: April 2010

Twitter To Launch Their Own URL Shortener Soon (And Won’t Be Giving Users A Choice)

Twitter CEO Evan Williams on Twitter’s lack of an internal URL shortener:

Twitter To Launch Their Own URL Shortener Soon (And Won't Be Giving Users A Choice)“We want to solve that problem. Everyone else has solved that problem. We are probably not going to give people a choice. If they want to use a different shortener, they can use a different app.”

Ouch. Is this the end for bit.ly? Or is this undeniably insular (and dare I say, Apple-worthy) attitude simply going to drive more people away from Twitter.com in favour of clients like TweetDeck and (assuming they open the barn door a little) HootSuite?

Source: TechCrunch

The Magic Number – Twitter Has 105 Million Users. Okay, So How Many Of Those Are Real?

Some massive stats were revealed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone at the official Chirp conference today, including the magic number we’ve all been waiting for – Twitter has 105,779,710 registered users, and is adding around two million new profiles per week (300,000 per day).

No idea how many of these are legitimate accounts. You know, the kind that actually updates semi-regularly, and isn’t one of a dozen or more operated by the same individual. And bots do not count.

Active (and real) users is really what it’s all about, although even that doesn’t factor out the duplicates.

But assuming this figure is accurate, it’s worth observing that this means Twitter is already about one-quarter of the size of Facebook.

Other figures of note:

  • The site is seeing around 600 million searches per day, and expects to see a ‘one billion queries day‘ by next month
  • Twitter receives 180 million unique visitors per month
  • 75% of all traffic comes from outside Twitter.com

The latter statistic isn’t too much of a surprise, but it doesn’t stand up very well against the one before it, at least in terms of the data we’ve seen in the past.

Compete, which mostly tracks US data, indicates that Twitter.com seems to have settled around the 21 million unique monthly visitors mark. Assuming that represents just 25% of visitors, this would indicate an overall global visitor/user number of approximately 84 million per month, which is just a little shy of Biz’s numbers, unless he’s factoring in API calls.

Maybe it’s the nineties again and he’s counting hits? Some proper data would nice. Still, at least it gives us something to work with for now.

Daily Searches On Twitter Should Reach One Billion Queries In May

Interesting report from Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand from Twitter’s Chirp conference, where Twitter CEO Evan Williams revealed that the network is generating about 19 billion search queries per month.

This puts well behind Google’s 88 billion, but it’s good enough to leapfrog Bing (4.1 billion) and Yahoo (9.4 billion) for the number two spot.

Most of these searches come via API, predominately constant searches that many of us have running in our favourite apps. (For example, I have one going 24/7 for ‘Twittercism’.)

No one partner generates a majority of Twitter’s search requests, but there are some that are noticeable. In particular, he said TweetDeck and Seesmic (both makers of Twitter clients) generate noticeable amounts of searches. That seems to be from all the people using that software to run standing queries on subjects they are interested in.

Like the tweets per day figure, it’s picking up speed, too.

The growth is continuing. I also spoke with Twitter’s director of search Doug Cook, who said at times, queries per day reach 750 milllion — and he expects Twitter to have a 1 billion searches some time next month.

Interestingly, Williams added that Twitter search itself only contributes to the overall number in the “low double digits”. Assuming he means a percentage, that’s a much smaller figure than I would have anticipated. I use Twitter search an absolute ton, many times a day. But I guess I’m fairly unique amongst typical users there.

It all sounds amazing for Twitter, but it’s not quite as clear-cut as it sounds, and I encourage you to read Sullivan’s analysis for more detail.

Twitter Tried (And Failed) To Buy Bit.ly (Who Had Already Turned Down Google)

Interesting report over at Business Insider that details a failed attempt by Twitter to buy bit.ly in January.

Why? Price, of course. Bit.ly’s was too high for Twitter. One source tells us Bit.ly’s asking price was under $100 million, but still a “big f—ing number.”

Twitter and Bit.ly were far apart on price in part because the people running Bit.ly view it as a service that extends beyond Twitter. One source close to Bit.ly tells us that of the 3.5 billion clicks on Bit.ly links in March, 100 million went to Facebook.com. This source tells us that only 30% to 40% of Bit.ly’s traffic is Twitter related.

Another reason Bit.ly probably felt like it could demand a high asking price is that four months prior to its talks with Twitter, it turned down an acquisition offer from Google.

Read more.

Bit.ly remains the network’s default shortened URL, but now Twitter has bought its own URL shortener, acquired Tweetie and made an official Blackberry app, turning down this acquisition might prove to be incredibly short-sighted.

I’m a huge fan of bit.ly, and would hate to see them disappear into the ether. But given that Twitter’s own shortener will inevitably have access to all the internal goodness (most of which one assumes Twitter keeps under wraps), it doesn’t look all that promising.

Twitter Traffic Just +0.08% For March, Facebook +3.28%, LinkedIn +3.76%, Friendfeed -4.05%

This is a monthly series that looks at visitor data for all the major social networks as calculated by Compete.com. Compete is USA-biased, and certainly in the case of Twitter the visitor numbers are distorted by the openness of Twitter’s API and the numerous Twitter software clients, but on a like-for-like basis the numerics have value and warrant investigation. Please refer to previous installments in this series for a more detailed overview.

After February’s -9.63% dip, Twitter rebounded just +0.08% for March, registering 21,287,217 unique visits, and 161,903,421 overall.

Twitter Traffic Just +0.08% For March. Facebook +3.28%, LinkedIn +3.76%, Friendfeed -4.05%

The latter figure is up some 12.47%, which is encouraging, but a little strange. It would appear that while new users are possibly cooling to the platform (many people move on the more feature-packed clients after a period of time on the network, but everybody starts on Twitter.com), existing members are using Twitter.com in greater numbers. This, of course, is ideal for Twitter, but the continuing plateau in new registrations remains a source of some concern.

Moreover, it confirms that last month’s decline was not an aberration caused simply because of a shortened month. For some reason, since the January highs traffic to Twitter.com has fallen over 10 per cent, and stayed that way. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out over the next few months.

Facebook, which also fell in February, added another +3.28% uniques to 132,040,907, and 3,046,062,608 overall (+8.76%), just short of the peaks we saw in January of this year.

Twitter Traffic Just +0.08% For March. Facebook +3.28%, LinkedIn +3.76%, Friendfeed -4.05%

LinkedIn and MySpace also rallied, up +3.76% (14,725,669) and +6.25% (47,582,253) respectively.

Meanwhile, last month’s Friendfeed rebound appears to have been an error from Compete. In March, the network dropped -4.05% to just 467,946 unique visitors, which is a new low.

Twitter Adds 'Recent Retweets' Feature To Search – Is This The Start Of Reputation Ranking?

I’m not sure if this feature is available to everybody yet, or whether I’m just very late to the party, but earlier this morning when using Twitter search I noticed something new at the top of the results – Recent Retweets.

It doesn’t seem to work for all keywords, but on certain occasions Twitter has started ranking certain high-profile users above the normal reverse-chronological results that are normally generated.

For example, here is a search for Twitter:

Twitter Adds 'Recent Retweets' Feature To Search - Is This The Start Of Reputation Ranking?

Read more

Twitter Buys Tweetie, Renames It, Makes It Available For Free

Following the launch of the official Twitter app for Blackberry, this is absolutely huge.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie, a leading iPhone Twitter client. Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (currently $2.99) in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks. Loren will become a key member of our mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world. Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.

From Loren:

I’m happy to say that as of today Twitter is the proud owner of Tweetie – and I’m joining their mobile team and starting work on turning Tweetie.app into Twitter.app, for iPhone and iPad.

In my opinion, Tweetie is far and away the best Twitter app (my review is here). This is fantastic news for Twitter, and more evidence that they’re looking to take control of the external use of their platform, certainly in the enormous mobile area, but we’ll have to wait and see if any of this is good news for users.

Or, for that matter, developers. The jury’s very much out on what this means for mobile alternatives to Tweetie Twitter For iPhone, such as Echofon and TweetDeck. And is this an early warning that Twitter is likely to go after the desktop-based clients, too, radically improving the lacking Twitter.com to compete there?

Perhaps of more concern, Twitter hasn’t been exactly a leader in innovation for their own product. Virtually everything that matters on the platform has been initiated or improved by users (@s, retweets) and developers (practically everything else). Tweetie is so user-friendly and so slick – I hate to think that any of that will suddenly be stifled by committee-thinking.

The weeks and months to come should be very interesting. In the meantime, learn more about this news at the Twitter blog, or directly from Loren himself here.

Over 60% Of Twitter Users Now Come From Outside The USA

A report from Matt Sanford, the lead engineer for Twitter’s international team:

Today we are a global information network, with a robust developer ecosystem and a website available in six languages. Our users on Twitter are even more geographically diverse — we’re proud to report that over 60% of registered Twitter accounts come from outside the US. There are Twitter users in the large countries you’d expect, some smaller countries you might not expect (like the Vatican City) and even one in outer space.

Over 60% Of Twitter Users Now Come From Outside The USARead more at the official Twitter blog.

Justin Bieber: I'm Bigger Than Jesus (And Lady Gaga)

In February, I wrote about the eternal presence of Justin Bieber on Twitter’s global trending topics. In the past couple of months, I’m not sure I’ve seen Bieber leave this list – he’s trending in the top ten as we speak – which once again underlines my point about the general redundancy of this feature.

Yes, Twitter has now given us the facility to set the trending topics geographically. Typically, this leads to further, albeit localised redundancy, and it also means that you’re a step or two behind when the (genuinely important) global news breaks.  And being completely honest, I don’t care how localised trending topics becomes – apart from a very casual interest, I’m never going to be that concerned about what’s buzzing in my home town, because nothing is ever buzzing in my home town. If you live in New York, you probably feel differently.

However, and whether you like it or not, Bieber is a big deal. Huge, in fact. How big? Well, according to Google Trends, he’s now bigger than Lady Gaga.

Perhaps more impressively, especially with his strong Easter showing, even Jesus couldn’t bring the Bieber down.

Justin Bieber: I'm Bigger Than Jesus (And Lady Gaga)

But here’s the thing: none of these individuals are important to me. I don’t want to see any of them in MY trending topics. Yes, it’s all about me, but it’s all about you, too. This is our experience. Not Twitter’s, and not the collective’s.

All I want are two simple things:

  1. The ability to see the trending topics of just my network (within Twitter), because I totally trust you guys, and
  2. A little X next to Justin Bieber’s name in the trending topics, which I can click, and Twitter will make him disappear, never to be seen again

And if Twitter can’t or won’t do this, maybe a developer will.

HOWTO: Get Verified On Twitter

You need to apply via this page.

(Note: the user who wants to be verified needs to be logged in to Twitter before completing that application form.)

Read the small print here. You can track all the latest verified users here.

We’re starting with well-known accounts that have had problems with impersonation or identity confusion. (For example, well-known artists, athletes, actors, public officials, and public agencies). We may verify more accounts in the future, but because of the cost and time required, we’re only testing this feature with a small set of folks for the time being. As the test progresses we may be able to expand this test to more accounts over the next several months.

get_verified_on_twitterThis is all still in beta, and it’s worth noting that your odds of being verified aren’t exactly high. I know of several well-known, high-profile Twitter celebrities whose applications were completely ignored.

Also note that once verified, if you change your profile information your account will become unverified, and you’ll lose the badge and have to re-apply. I wonder which genius created that template.

Still, the perks are enormous. Free coffee, unlimited tweets per month, and 24/7 access to Biz Stone via your own personal Twitter mobile phone. Allegedly.

Good luck.

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