As UberMedia works on a Twitter rival does it have any chance of success?
The reports says that UberMedia, which is in talks to acquire TweetDeck and owns UberSocial, could offer a service that fixes some of the oft heard complaints about Twitter (the length of tweets et cetera), but is there really room for another microblogging site?
The problem any start-up in this field has is that Twitter is not only well established with several hundred million registered users (although the number of active tweeters is much less) it is heavily tied into the media establishment. Newspapers, TV stations and magazines are some of Twitter’s heaviest and most followed users. Those networks are hard to replicate overnight.
UberMedia’s business is quite literally built on Twitter. It clearly understands the market, but to launch a rival service is something else entirely. While a new service might fix issues, might make it easier to use, would it really make enough of a difference to start over again?
I’m not sure at this moment in time that anyone else can challenge Twitter in the microblogging game. Not unless they were offering a radically different service. One offering tweaks really won’t draw people in. It has to be fundamentally much much better.
Early on in Twitter’s life other services did emerge, but does anyone remember Jaiku or Plurk that launched as Twitter rivals? Thought not.
The services that have taken off in terms of social media post Twitter are not ones that replicate what Twitter or other social sites are doing. Consider Quora and Tumblr. Both offer something quite different.
What’s interesting is that UberMedia is clearly already challenging Twitter in its own back yard through the succession of ways to access Twitter it has built. It is a tetchy issue and led to Twitter temporarily banning UberMedia earlier this year, as Techcrunch reported:
“Well this is interesting. According to this post, Twitter has suspended UberTwitter and Twidroyd for violating its policies.
“The action is even more fascinating considering that UberMedia, which operates UberTwitter and Twidroyd, is building an army of third-party Twitter clients, including Tweetdeck, that compete directly with Twitter’s web and mobile clients.”
Previously Twitter had asked UberMedia to change the name of one of its apps. UberTwitter had to become UberSocial.
So is UberMedia’s proposed Twitter competitor real? Or is it as suggested by some simply a backup plan that could be rolled out if the relationship with Twitter further deteriorates or breaks down completely.
UberMedia CEO Bill Gross, who sources say has been briefing people on the project for months, declined requests for interviews through a spokesman.
“Our foremost desire is to continue to innovate on the Twitter platform and bring more users and usage to Twitter,” UberMedia marketing chief Steve Chadima said in a statement given to CNN.
The obvious advantage that UberMedia has over that of failed rivals is that it already has a lot of users of its apps, but I suspect that pulling them away from Twitter will be a very tough challenge.
When the deal to acquire Tweetdeck has been finalised UberMedia will own another major access point, but what would happen then if Twitter launched its own desktop app to rival Tweekdeck? Or Hootsuite? Many wonder if this is not already in the works. That could be enough to push UberMedia to try it alone.