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Summary:

[qi:004] Some days you read something that makes you go: What the…? I got that feeling when I read Peter Kafka’s report that Tweetdeck, one of the many Twitter desktop apps that use Adobe Air and has been downloaded 250,000 times, is getting just shy of half […]

[qi:004] Some days you read something that makes you go: What the…? I got that feeling when I read Peter Kafka’s report that Tweetdeck, one of the many Twitter desktop apps that use Adobe Air and has been downloaded 250,000 times, is getting just shy of half a million bucks from New York-based incubator Betaworks. I’m not quite sure why! Though I think I understand — it uses Bit.ly, a service that shortens URLs to be exchanged on Twitter and is also backed by Betaworks. Since Bit.ly wants to mine the information associated with URLs being swapped around and build some sort of a value-add experience, this is a good way for them to get data from Tweetdeck. Maybe they want to flip this to Twitter — after all, Betaworks sold Summize to San Francisco-based Twitter last year and are shareholders. Otherwise, this investment doesn’t make sense. Why won’t someone else build a Tweetdeck-like offering? Or maybe it’s just a sign of Twitter-related insanity.

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  1. I did find it interesting. Twitter gets just over 20 million to run a company and one of the hundreds of apps that interface with TWitter managed to snag 500K.

    It is pure craziness. For the record, I prefer Yoono for my twittering.

  2. I met Ian, the tweetdeck founder, in betaworks’ office yesterday. i’m not privy to the plan, but I’m willing to bet their investment thesis is broader than bitly data. At first impression, Ian’s got a lot more potential than Tweetdeck.

    I also happened to be standing there with Ian and the bitly team as the airplane in the Hudson news hit Twitter. It was an education on 21st century news.

  3. @scott

    I remain skeptical till i am convinced otherwise. On the issue of hudson news etc. I think this is a sad reflection of the times and where news is headed. it is going to be interesting to see how it pans out.

  4. Paul Capestany Friday, January 16, 2009

    Tweetdeck getting $500k is indeed insanity. Twitter will never IPO, and already tried selling itself to no avail. While it’s a fun fad, it’s not a business, it’s a feature if anything. Twitter will implode the minute their VCs decide to stop bleeding money, and then where will all these third party apps like Tweetdeck be? Unless these investors know something that we don’t, they must be on crack.

    BTW, I think it’s pathetic that the only way to get BASIC functionality out of Twitter is by using third party apps like Tweetdeck et al. Seriously?

  5. Om – you write “I remain skeptical till i am convinced otherwise”

    why not be psyched that stuff is happening? Enjoy seeing new apps and people. If it doesnt work – who cares, someone tried. Next. The negativity is horrible. “Insanity” really? A little one person all that some people or no people care about.

  6. @Jeff W

    Psyched about what — an adobe air desktop app. Give me a break.

  7. Om:

    Damn! Just ignore it then why waste the effort and anger – seriously? Write about something that makes u happy then but its a fucking app, your anger is ridiculous. You’ve lost one reader with this.

  8. Paul Capestany Friday, January 16, 2009

    @Jeff W

    In case you hadn’t noticed, we ain’t in a bubble anymore. $500k is a lot to flush down the toilet in these times.

  9. @Om,

    I think you nailed this one. While I personally enjoy Twitter, I wonder how it will survive over the long term given Twitter doesn’t have a scalable business model. That said, i’d like to see Twitter survive. However, I don’t understand funding an ecosystem for Twitter given its’ questionable viability over the long term. I think $500K just got wasted due to “eyeballs”. Perhaps $500K should have been invested in a business with a scalable revenue model?

    It was great meeting you at the Crunchies by the way.

    Cheers,

    Curtis

  10. Tweetdeck getting funding isn’t crazy, it’s the next move forward: stuff that works | Internet Life | A View from the Isle Friday, January 16, 2009

    [...] Om Malik thinks Iain getting $500k in angel funding is a sing of Twitter insanity, I have to strongly disagree. [From Tweetdeck Funding…a Sign of Twitter Insanity] [...]

  11. TweetDeck recibe inversión de capital Friday, January 16, 2009

    [...] casi medio millón de dólares en una aplicación para una red social no-muy-grande como es Twtter es una locura, pero yo no estoy de acuerdo. Los modelos de negocios y los métodos para ganar dinero del software [...]

  12. amen. this is why I banned Twitter on CenterNetworks for 10 days. Let’s get back to talking about real apps with real revenue models, etc.

  13. Amen too. We all need to focus on real business models, like weblogs selling ads at $.50/thousand, or scanning business cards into pdf files .. now those are huge ideas!

    Of course we’ve heard this for years . . . AOL cant make money, Google cant make money, MySpace sucks, Facebook will never work . . . those who do not try to create can only criticize

  14. TweetDeck Takes Angel Round Up To $500,000 Friday, January 16, 2009

    [...] said that though, I tend to side with Om Malik: this sort of money for a desktop app that could be easily replicated and with no clear revenue [...]

  15. Hey Twitter, wanna a few bucks Saturday, January 17, 2009

    [...] with an amazing post and guest posts it here. This one is a stonker of an idea, its comes in a week where Tweetdeck secured $500,000 investment and the channels are alive with chatter of a twitter business [...]

  16. @Om I have no problem with your (or really any) skepticism, as you know painfully well. However, I know the individuals writing the check in the this case. The Betaworks guys are are business people not true believers and have a privileged and intimate view of the Twitter ecology.

  17. @Jeff W – I’m sure @Om is sad to have you drop off of his reader list (even though we both know you haven’t), but its a bit absurd to ask him to only write about things that make him think of roses and rainbows. He absolutely nails this, while TweetDeck is one of the better Twitter applications, $500K is a ton of dough especially in these times for an application that competes with so many others, none of which have any kind of revenue stream.

    Saying anything other than that he’ll remain skeptical until proved otherwise is absurd in this case.

  18. OM – good post – unlike the vast majjority of graduates from the social engineering academy at Union Square Ventures – glad to see at least you ignore “fashion” and call it like it is.

    “Twitter Insanity” – Twitter is Insanity. Period. I see a few people here having hissy fits with the flavors of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s Sarah Palin campaign stumps – but laugh it off – it is comical at best.

    Cheers -

  19. Thomas Whitney Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Twitter is a zeitgiest of the time. Of course, it appears to be insane. It’s experimental. Designed to broaden perspective about communication.

    I personally think the idea itself is culturally revoluationary.

    My main concern is though digital security. They are going to have to sew that up a bit. Otherwise, LOVE IT!

  20. Actually, http://www.peoplebrowsr.com is very similar to TweetDeck, except it’s web-based. What I appreciate about it, is that you’re not giving an Adobe Air like programme unrestricted access to your entire system.
    I’m now using PeopleBrowser through Fluid (a site specific browser), which basically gives me all of the TweetDeck functionality, without it’s Adobe Air intrusion…

  21. yes I agree to antonie. why does this programme need unrestricted access to my entire (pc) system? Is this just a fake software to spy you out? Spying out millions of users. Putting them under stress that the latest marketing gag is twitter? And can you emagine, that families using it? Oh comon! Thats just another marketing platform (or call it a time waisting game) in the marvelous world wild web where some attention seeking lonely pc geeks cry out to be heard, as they have a lack of normal conversion like talking through their mouth and not their fingers. Count all the time together people spent on writing in twitter, and count all the time of people reading them. This time could be spend better to get away with the recession, or not? Or just make a nice walk in nature! You will benefit more.

  22. BetaWorks Raises Around $2M for Bit.ly, Spins It Out Monday, March 30, 2009

    [...] Twitter-focused search engine, Summize, to Twitter last year. Since then Betaworks has invested in Tweetdeck, a Twitter client built with Adobe AIR. [...]

  23. remote access software Monday, August 3, 2009

    It seems like there’s almost a mini .com-bubble forming with social media. The value-add is data mining (see above, they access your whole pc) but i think that the bubble may burst. First off, there’s only so many hours in the day and people DO have a limit of how much they will tweet. And all it takes is one mis-use of consumer data to bring a social media empire crashing down.

  24. Tweetdeck is a great app for social media networking. Tweeting is at an all time high but I still don’t believe they will be able to take a large portion of the market share from Facebook.

  25. Betaworks Raises $20M From Intel, Others – GigaOM Thursday, March 11, 2010

    [...] comparison to Bit.ly and Chartbeat, Betaworks is purely an investor in Tweetdeck, a very popular Twitter reader. “We have stakes in 24 companies –- some small and some large stakes,” says co-founder [...]

  26. Confirmed: Tweetdeck Gets $3M Thursday, May 20, 2010

    [...] and investment group. Betaworks is a lead investor in the company started by Iain Dodsworth; other angel investors include Ron Conway of SV Angel, Howard Lindzon and Danny Rimer of Index [...]

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