Here’s an interesting one. UberMedia, the company that owns popular Twitter apps such as UberSocial, Echofon and Twidroyd, is said to be planning to create its own rival social network.
According to a report today from CNN, the new service “would seek to attract users by addressing common complaints about Twitter, such as its restriction on the length of a message and how it can be confusing to newcomers.” While UberMedia hasn’t officially spoken out about the supposed plans, CNN cites three sources said to be in the know.
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While it may seem foolhardy for anyone to challenge Twitter’s dominance, it may be UberMedia’s best chance of profiting from its substantial stake in the Twitterverse. UberMedia has slowly been amassing Twitter clients to the point where its clients have been said to be responsible for as much of 20% of daily tweets.
The problem is that Twitter has been busily outlawing third-party ad networks built on top of its network, and discouraging developers from building their own clients, as it looks to maximise the amount of money it can make itself. Meanwhile, relations between Twitter and UberMedia have been fraught of late, to say the least.
So, leveraging its existing, Twitter-focused user base to launch a rival service via its own apps makes a certain amount of sense. The problem is that even if they do, will people want it? While it’s easy to bemoan the ‘flaws’ of Twitter, but if we could write as much as we liked, that would be blogging – the 140 character limit is at the heart of Twitter’s appeal. Twitter itself is meanwhile busy trying to make its network more accessible to newcomers through a redesigned homepage and improved discovery tools.
Still, if UberMedia can successfully identify, cater to and monetise a niche audience that wants an expanded version of Twitter, it will have succeeded. What’s interesting is that UberMedia has been rumoured to be in talks to acquire UK-based Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck has been experimenting with an ‘expanded Twitter’ format, complete with blog-style comments for posts, in the form of Deck.ly. That’s further evidence that a deal between the two companies may be imminent, although even just two weeks ago, Tweetdeck CEO Iain Dodsworth was refusing to comment on the speculation.