Since the earlier days of Twitter, one of my favorite services has been TweetMeme. It aggregated tweets around popular subjects, then categorized them so that you could easily find what topics were hot at any given time. But today, according to TweetMeme Founder Nick Halstead, the service is shutting down.

Halstead chalks up the decision to the success of DataSift, the social data company that spawned from TweetMeme. He points to DataSift’s 10,000 users, physical offices in 4 cities and $14 million in investments as factors in the decision.

“We will be sad to see TweetMeme go, but it is no longer competitive or cost effective for us to continue to keep the infrastructure going behind it.”

Halstead says that TweetMeme was actually version 2 of the product, with the first being the now-defunct http://fav.or.it. But it was the experience from both fav.or.it and TweetMeme that made DataSift a reality. “Serving billions of requests per day and filtering the links from Twitter taught us massive amounts that allowed us to build DataSift.”

TweetMeme was also quite useful in finding true retweet counts, as often times Twitter’s own counters didn’t update nearly as fast. It will be a sad loss, but Halstead tells us that the API shutdown is being made as easy as possible. For those websites who are using the TweetMeme button, they’ll be automatically switched over to Twitter’s own offering.

Screen Shot 2012 09 26 at 12.30.26 PM 520x254 TweetMeme, the precursor to DataSift, closes its doors after 500,000 installs

As for the site itself, it will cease to exist as of October 1st. It’s always a shame to see such a useful application fall to the wayside, but TweetMeme had an incredible run. Halstead shared with us that the buttons had been installed on over 500,000 websites and, at its peak, served 1.5 billion buttons.

Image: LeWeb via Flickr