Online media is rife with rumors of Twitter launching its own photosharing service with Techcrunch reporting first and AllThingsD posting a confirmation on its website. Even though Twitter refused to comment on the issue, rumours are pointing in the right direction, particularly when examined under the light of the business decisions Twitter has been announcing recently.
A year after its launch, Twitter had opened up their API (Application Programming Interface), for third party app developers, which led to the Twitter's almost self sufficient ecosystem of about 750,000 apps and services. Twitter founders drew much applause back then, with an evolving revenue model and open-to-outsourcing business approach. But with the most recent developments leading in one direction, social media critics are voicing their apprehensions on the future of Twitter.
In March this year, Twitter platform chief Ryan Sarver in an API announcement made it clear that Twitter doesn't want pure play clients. The message was loud and clear: Applications that use Twitter are welcome but there are going to be strict restrictions on Twitter apps that replicates Twitter experience. “If there are too many ways to use Twitter that are inconsistent with one another, we risk diffusing the user experience,” Sarver said.
Twitter's new photosharing service is clearly pitted against Twitpic and Yfrog, both third party applications, that now host web images and photographs for Twitter users, the links to which can be incorporated in the tweets. Twitter's own photosharing service will definitely simplify the procedure but social media critics are warning the company before they share a similar fate as that of AOL, Myspace, Friendster and Yahoo!.
Ever since its inception Twitter has grown with a well-established infrastructure model when compared to other online media companies like Google and Facebook. Twisting and turning an already established model by eliminating third party clients, Twitter is most likely to be in direct battle with media giants like Google and Facebook. This might prove fatal in the current scenario where the competitors are enjoying a lucrative market share.
In the facevalue of the business model, that Twitter probably is contemplating, it would most likely take them forward as a typical online media company which could cash in on the traffic that it gets. To aid and boost that process Twitter is slowly buying (they recently bought TweetDeck for $40 million) or eliminating the competitors that currently divert Twitter traffic. In the process, those applications that have sustained Twitter and allowed it to become a potential factor in online media market is likely to be disintegrated, thus generating considerable amount of doubt among online market watchers. With a relatively newer online venture Groupon being valued at $20 million and the highly appreciated LindedIn IPO, Twitter might possibly be under pressure to live upto its valuation of $4 billion.
Both sides of arguments taken into account, it's up to Twitter to establish the best business model to further its growth plans without sacrificing the large numbers of users that the third party apps have brought to them.