One of the great things about Twitter is the vast range of different clients available for it. If you don’t want to just use the web interface or the company’s own (rather spiffy, it has to be said) official mobile apps, you don’t have to. There are web-based clients like Hootsuite, phone-specific apps such as Ubertwitter and Echofon and desktop programs like Seesmic and Tweetdeck. This freedom of choice is perhaps part of what’s helped propel Twitter to the levels of popularity it’s experiencing. California-based company Ubermedia seem to recognise this and have been on something of a buying spree recently, adding Tweetdeck to their already bursting portfolio.
The company already owns some of the most popular mobile apps including Ubertwitter (for BlackBerry phones), Echofon (for Apple devices) and Twitdroyd (for Android units) as well as a couple of other Twitter-based acquisitions including the advertising product FollowMe. That said, Tweetdeck is their biggest purchase yet by a mile, bringing with it a huge userbase including Sky Sports, Time Magazine writers and even your humble scribe here. It’s also becoming one of the most popular mobile clients on Android and Apple mobile devices (again, I swear by it on my phone).
It certainly seems like there’s a solid marketing plan in place with these acquisitions, but still, monetising the $30million investment that Ubermedia have made on Tweetdeck may seem like a steep task. The client – like most of the mobile ones they have purchased – is free and isn’t supported by ads. Personally speaking, if it DID get filled with ads, I’d probably ditch it and go to another platform.
So how do they monetise it? How will Ubermedia make this investment work? I can think of a few ways. Twitter offers promoted Trending Topics now. I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head how they work or how much they cost, but it’s a fair bet it’s not exactly cheap. Tweetdeck could offer their own version of this – after all, it’s one of the most popular clients out there amongst the Twitter userbase. Other than that, Tweetdeck has a “recommended users” page. That’s something that could be monetised and could possibly bring in enough money to minimise advertisement use.
Either way, Tweetdeck is now the property of Ubermedia and I’m sure they wouldn’t just go and buy half the Twitter clients out there without a plan in place. I suppose it’s just a case of waiting and seeing what happens.