A Friendfeed Extinction? Four Twitter Buyouts That Would Make Robert Scoble Cry


As any geek worth their salt knows, Robert Scoble is a huge fan of Friendfeed. Its not just the simple fact that Friendfeed aggregates all of ones sites via RSS into one place for your (even more) geekier friends, but rather that the conversations there are usually much deeper than what someone usually gets on Twitter.

Despite the fact that Twitter is a bare bones tool when compared against Friendfeed (at least feature wise), that could all easily change if Twitter decides to absorb five of its complimentary brethren which could result in Friendfeed’s irrelevance.



If there was any company Twitter should consider purchasing, Twitpic would be it. Boasting over 1.5 million users, Twitpic is probably considered the most popular image hosting tweet company online.

Although other competitors have emerged, none seemed to have garnered the amount of attention as this startup has, which might explain why Twitter considered buying it earlier.

While some may wonder why Twitter would want to add image hosting to its arsenal (especially with so many great options like Flickr and Facebook), doing so could give the young startup an easy way to monetize its services by offering premium accounts to heavy users (say by charging them for extra space per month).

It would also give users one less reason to use Friendfeed (which ingeniously included image hosting unlike its chief rival).




It seems like nowadays everyone is jumping onto the URL shortening bandwagon which was kicked off thanks to Tinyurl.com. StumpleUpon has one, Friendfeed has one, and even TechCrunch has one (thanks in part to a new startup called Awe.sm).

While Twitter currently lacks a url shortener of its own, it may be wiser for them to simply purchase Bit.ly instead, especially now that they have anointed it as the default URL shortener for Twitter.

Although most people would yawn at the idea of Twitter owning a url service (as there are plenty alternatives online like Tr.im), marketers, bloggers and SEO geeks would go nuts over Bit.ly’s analytics package, especially if a premium version was offered (giving more in depth analytics or even a custom url shortener for one’s site).




One of the reasons I fell in love with Friendfeed was the fact that I could aggregate all of my data from Facebook, Hulu, Pandora, blog feeds, etc. into one place thanks to the wonders of RSS.

Unfortunately Twitter lacked this feature, forcing me to rely upon Twitterfeed to deliver the space geek/israeli tech/personal news to the masses (or rather the 700 minus two who follow me).

Adding Twitterfeed to the list of potential services could sweeten the deal for many bloggers, news organizations, etc., especially if they find a way to publish feeds instantly to Twitter via Google’s PubSubHubbub.




Not too long ago Friendfeed gave users the ability to upload audio files to their life streaming accounts.

While Friendfeed has established limits on the number of times you can upload (in order to cut down on piracy), Twitter could do one step better by purchasing a startup called 12seconds, a service that enables users to post quick video snippets about their life (i.e. here is an example of Shaq singing Nirvana).

Since 12seconds only allows for a brief amount of time to be recorded, Twitter could avoid some of the hassles of illegal uploads to their servers (not to mention avoid the bandwidth costs of popular services like YouTube).

Although there are probably many other services Twitter could consider purchasing (such as Qik, MobyPicture or Ustream.TV), 12seconds seems to capture the essence of what Twitter is all about—expressing short snippets about ones life (although via multimedia format).


While the assimilation of any (or all) of these services would not necessarily guarantee Friendfeed’s demise (as the team there seem to be very innovative), it may secure Twitter’s place as the premium microblogging platform online, and perhaps helping them become the pulse of the planet.


  1. says

    Interesting article. I’m just thinking why would Twitter have to purchase these companies? They are all already there and are established services. How would Twitter become a Friendfeed killer by purchasing them?

  2. says

    Why would that be a threat, they all do different things. Friend feed is more content syndication, their only real competitor in this is ping.fm. There will always be a market as simply its growth is never ending. Social Media is heading to evolve even more, it wont stop for a long time.

  3. says

    Cool article Darnell. Would any of these help solve Twitter’s revenue problem? Do you think they’re even worried about making money at this point?

  4. says

    @Alex: I think Twitter is still searching for a model, although the current recession doesn’t make things any easier for them.

    If Twitter did buy these companies, they could turn them into premium services which would probably help them pay the bills.

    But finding willing customers in a “everything has to be free” era can be hard.

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