Rumor Of More Funding For Twitter, While They Admit Cluelessness

May 22, 2008

Om Malik floats the Rumor that Twitter has finally closed their latest round of funding, placing them at a ripe valuation of $80 million. Meanwhile, The Inquisitr floats another rumor that Twitter wanted a $200 million valuation.

Twitter also recently admitted their rampant downtime problems on their blog, saying “the truth is we’re not sure what’s happening” and “we’ve definitely failed at that aim” to make Twitter a utility service people can rely on.

This situation highlights what a bet VC money is – a bet that Twitter, self-admittedly “clueless” can solve its technical problems before frustrated users migrate to competitors like Pownce, Jaiku, or FriendFeed. A bet that wads of cash can help find a solution. Or, a bet on an acquisition, allowing the VCs and current Twitter crew to cash out before the technical problems implode the company, thereby handing the problems over to someone else to solve.

Despite my frustrations with Twitter, I still think the last situation a fairly safe bet, especially with the recent wave of acquisitions (CBS + CNet, Conde Nast (Wired) + Ars Technica, AOL + Bebo, Sugar + Coutorture and Shopstyle).

What better way to “solve” these problems than finding an even more clueless, larger company (say Microsoft), jonesing for some Web 2.0 bubble buzz, to purchase Twitter? I would imagine the Twitter folks are working on this exit strategy right now, in parallel with finding that elusive technical solution.

In the meantime, I’ll be over at FriendFeed, waiting to see how this bet plays out.

Update: Looks like some more voices in this conversation are piping up – it’s great to see some beginnings at technical solutions come public: Twitter needs to recode from the ground up, and TechCrunch points out how understaffed and “ill-prepared” the engineering team is. Some blame must be placed on management for not recognizing this issue sooner. And ultimately, the call is now out – if you’re tired of Twitter downtime, they’re hiring. Be part of the solution.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    I've been trying to visit a Twitter page I was linked to for the past ~30 minutes. While the server eventually responds, I get a “something is technically wrong” message.

    Yes, the service is free, but is it worthless? Possibly.

    I still haven't found a Twitter replacement that accepts SMS messages and outputs as RSS. Any ideas? FriendFeed doesn't do that, does it?

    This would be a great time for Google to quickly fix up Jaiku and open up the invites system a bit more.

  2. webomatica says:

    Yeah… the annoyance is rising. I do feel a little bad about ranting when a
    service is down, but it's crossing into a state of ridiculousness.

    Meanwhile I've been avoiding twitter for over a week and am finding
    friendfeed a decent replacement – for everything but the mobile stuff.
    Someone is working on a mobile set up for FF though, check out this post
    over at Louis Grays:
    http://www.louisgray.com/live/2008/05/take-frie
    haven't tried it myself.

  3. Mike says:

    Sounds interesting. I kinda need SMS, because I've got an allotment of text messages per month, and I don't have a fancy phone with a data plan (like an iPhone).

    I'm looking to have the SMS messages collected into a site, then output as an RSS feed – and then I can have a WordPress plugin grab those RSS feed items and post them to my blog. It simultaneously replaces, and relies on, Twitter.

    Google also owns Grand Central, so I'm sure there's some neat Jaiku integration they could do. Then again, they also own Dodgeball, and that didn't go anywhere. Meh.