My history with Twitter has been this:
- When Twitter came out I didn’t get why people loved it so much.
- Then I got it (and it became the 3rd biggest source of traffic to my blog.
- Then I profited tens of thousands of dollars by doing promotional tweets.
- Then as fast as it came into my life… it became dead to me
I started thinking about Twitter this morning and I could not help but see the parallels between it and MySpace:
- Both grew very very fast.
- Both became a pissing contest about getting the most friends (or followers).
- Both allowed people to be anonymous.
- Both allowed people to customize their page.
Now I am seeing a new commonality. The demographic of its users.
As MySpace became riddled with annoying profiles of people with blaring music and animations that would induce seizers, it lost its biggest asset – users with money.
If you have watched MySpace’s Quantcast numbers over the years you will see primary growing demographic of MySpace demographic is age 13 to 17 and incomes of less than 30k/yr.
MySpace’s financial situation is much worse. A couple years ago the company was valued at over 20 billion dollars. Now its valuation is around 30 million dollars.
While the traffic as a whole has declined on MySpace dramatically the valuation has dropped at more then 20x the rate.
I believe MySpaces biggest reason for such a huge drop in revenue is because of the demographic switch of their users. As people who can afford to purchase items that companies are advertising are leaving, the people coming in are giving advertisers next to zero return on their investments.
Lets not forget about the anonymous annoyance problem. I am guessing for every real profile there is 100 fake ones on Twitter. Probably more. Most of these accounts are created purely for to annoy other users or to spam people. For me the spam problem makes Twitter almost unusable.
For a while we used legal resources to take down imposter ShoeMoney accounts but there are more created then we can keep up with.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t fault affiliates for spamming Twitter… much like they exploited MySpace. Some of the techniques they use a ingenious. With MySpace, some affiliates were sued and lost Millions of dollars for spamming. But those affiliates told me they still made out
like a bandit even after the judgements and settlement penalties set them back a bit.
But I digress.
I believe Twitter will suffer a similar fate as MySpace.
It has ALL of the items are in place to drive away quality users just like with MySpace and much more.
The real value of Twitter always came from people with great opinions instantly chiming in. The quality of “Real Users” is nil compared to what it was a year ago.
Seen trending topics lately? Seen the spam to real user ratio?
Here are the exact trending topics right now (9am 7/13/2011):
I used to use Twitter religiously. When a topic hit trending I wanted to see why. It was addicting for me.
I rarely anymore see a trending topic that I want to find out why its trending. But even if there is something… again its 99% people spamming taking advantage of the trending topic traffic.
I think quality users are starting to leave in droves and Twitter is appealing now to the same demographic that led to MySpaces demise.
Like MySpace it will take time for advertisers and people licensing Twitter’s data to see this. Probably years.
I have made over a hundred thousand dollars from advertisers paying me to do tweets in the last couple years… but that has definitely hit its peak and those have decreased to maybe $400 a week now or so.
I have very openly admitted that the majority of my Twitter followers are of little value. I don’t think I am alone. I am on the board of advisors (and part owner) of the biggest Twitter advertising network and… while I can’t give any specific numbers lets just say I am not nearly excited about it as I was 2 years ago.
Besides the facts this is my opinion on Twitter’s future based on my personal experience. What say you?