Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Just how bad *is* Twitter's business plan?

Interesting article today in TechCrunch -- in particular, note the comment that Twitter seems to be seeking a new round of financing, less than a year after taking over $5 million. While it's possible to blow through that much money that fast (my bubble company, Trenza, had a burn rate somewhere in that ballpark), it's kind of challenging.

It specifically leads me to wonder whether they actually dealt with the fundamental insanity of trying to run a business based on SMS. The thing is, you know how expensive text messages are for the end user? How they cost five cents a line, or something like that, once you go past the limit on your package? Well, it costs pretty much the same amount for the applications as well, unless they manage to cut a really good deal with the phone companies.

I had *assumed* that Twitter had, in fact, cut such a deal. Certainly that's always been my long-run hope for CommYou: to basically tell the phone companies, "Look -- I'm going to drive SMS traffic for you, but I need you to let me send messages for free." But now I'm wondering if they actually got that deal. I'm sure they arranged a discount, but if Twitter is paying *anything* per line, it's too expensive to make any sense at all from a business perspective. I mean, even one penny per line is a fortune if that's what your business is built on. (I will be very distressed if CommYou's expenses work out to a thousandth that much.)

For the average user of Twitter, the lesson is this: don't get *too* attached to the service. They're a classic bubble company in their own way, with an interesting idea but no business plan at all. They might survive by selling the company to someone who considers them a loss leader, but their odds are only so-so...
Tags: technology

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