Twitter Needs Vibrant Competition

While it’s definitely exciting to see Twitter become increasingly popular around the world as a new communications platform, one of the downsides is how Twitter’s popularity seems to have deterred potential competitors, and/or prevented vibrant rivals from emerging.

Since Pownce was acquired by Six Apart (and subsequently shut down), there’s really been little competition for Twitter. It means people have no viable alternatives even if they’re frustrated with Twitter’s on and off service, hacker attacks such as the one that happened last week, and Twitter’s insistence on offering a no-frills service.

Sure, there are other micro-blogging services out there such as Identica, Laconica and Plurk but none of them have significant traction yet because Twitter dominates the landscape.

This had made it difficult for healthy competition to emerge because everyone’s using Twitter, and there’s a vibrant developer ecosystem that helps make Twitter more useful and valuable.

Still, it is puzzling not to see more competition emerging given there seems to be a fertile opportunity for a start-up to launch a user-friendly, feature-rich alternative.

After all, there’s lot of entrepreneurs willing to take on Google in search, and Internet Explorer and Firefox in Web browsing. So why the dearth of start-ups going after Twitter?

What do you think? Are there any viable alternatives to Twitter?

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