Posts Tagged ‘M&A’

TweetDeck Snapped Up; Who’s Next?

When Twitter raised its last round of venture capital, many people expected some of the cash would be used to make strategic acquisitions. Some of the names thrown around included TweetDeck, TwitPic, TwitVid, Seesmic and HootSuite.

TweetDeck can now be crossed off the list after it was purchased by UberMedia for $30-million. For people not familiar with UberMedia, it’s owned by Bill Gross, who started a search company called Overture. And for those of you not familiar with Overture, it created the pay-per-click model that Google “borrowed” to give itself a business model.

With TweetDeck, one of the big questions is what it means for the other popular services used by Twitter users to read, monitor and publish tweets. This group includes HootSuite, Seesmic, CoTweet, Mixero and Postling.

Are we now going to see a flurry of activity as companies look to establish a strong foothold within the Twitter ecosystem. There is little doubt UberMedia put itself a unique and powerful position by acquiring TweetDeck, which accounts for 20% of all tweets created.

The fact UberMedia bought TweetDeck for $30-million could look like a good deal when the dust settles. One of the biggest head-scratchers about the deal is why Twitter didn’t snap up TweetDeck. TweetDeck may have been a good acquisition for Google, Microsoft or AOL.

Who knows why deals happen and why they don’t. Maybe TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth likes the idea of joining forces with Bill Gross, an entrepreneur who clearly has a strategic vision as he builds a portfolio of Twitter services.

Maybe this is win-win scenario for Dodsworth as opposed to letting Tweetdeck and himself be swallowed up into a corporate behemoth such as Google or Microsoft.

With TweetDeck off the table, it begs the question about whether Twitter has a different strategic path for the publishing/reading market. It may be looking at another acquisition (HootSuite, anyone?), or maybe Twitter has an internal project that will feature its focus on the local, analytics and advertising markets.

As for TweetDeck, it will be interesting to see what Gross does with it. Despite its popularity, TweetDeck is more project than business so do not be surprised to see advertising be integrated into the service.

As well, TweetDeck could easily launch a premium service, which would likely attract a good number of dedicated users looking for more – and willing to pay for it.

A Take on Facebook’s Friendfeed Purchase

In theory, FriendFeed is a service that should appeal to people who are enthusiastic about social media because it provides the ability to quickly get a broad snapshot of a person’s digital activity – everything from Twitter and Facebook to blog posts and Flickr.

In other words, it’s one-stop social media shopping.

The reality, however, is FriendFeed has limited appeal. If you take a look at data from Compete.com, you can see that Friendfeed’s traffic peaked a couple of months ago at about one million unique users (U.S) before dropping 10% in July.

This may be due to people taking summer vacation but it also suggests Friendfeed’s limited appeal. In many respects, Friendfeed is social media over-kill because it gives you the entire menu as opposed to separate “servings”.

For some people, an all-you-can-eat social media “buffet” is appealing but I think most people prefer less rather than more, which is why Twitter has resonated in such a major way.

This isn’t to suggest Friendfeed isn’t a useful or interesting service but perhaps that it serves a niche audience. This market reality and the absence of a revenue model made it difficult for Friendfeed to create a viable business. So, when Facebook came around with a takeover offer, it was probably difficult for Friendfeed’s founders (a group of ex-Google employees) and investors to turn down.

That said, Friendfeed as a feature within Facebook may thrive as it becomes integrated into the Facebook ecosystem and gets exposed to a new audience of 250 million users.

For more thoughts on the Facebook-Friendfeed deal, check out Social Media Today’s Paul Chaney. As well, Franklin Petitt has a good post looking at how Friendfeed introducing a lot of interesting features during its relatively short lifespan.

Friendfeed