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Twitter is confused. Just like Yahoo was
Is it a media company..or a tech company?
In the last few days, here is what Twitter has announced
Limits on number of posts one can view (a temporary fix to combat scraping)
Tweetdeck will now be available to only blue subscribers
This is apart from all the chaotic updates regd Twitter API usage and many other announcements. And all of these are made to
increase (subscription) revenue
Is Twitter a media company or a tech company? Lessons from Yahoo
Yahoo, till the very last day couldn’t figure out whether it was a media company or a tech company.
The differentiation between the two is extremely important as it boils down to how the products are defined and most importantly, how the products are monetised - via advertisements or subscriptions ?
Yahoo had pretty much all the (modern day) unicorn businesses within its portfolio : Mail (Gmail), Briefcase (Dropbox/Box), Messenger (WhatsApp), SMB (WordPress) and so on - but they were all monetised like a typical media business - i.e. pageviews/ads (except for SMB*).
Yahoo continued to leave a lot of money and opportunity on the table, which eventually was grabbed by the likes of Google and others.
So far, Twitter has been monetised via ads (largely) and while Elon Musk is trying hard to move away from advertising dependent business to (Blue) subscription-led, the decision like limiting the number of tweets one can see - will hurt the advertiser trust in the company (Fyi: Over Half of Top 1,000 Twitter Advertisers Cease Spending on Platform: Report) - which hurts the revenue. Which eventually hurts the user experience, as Twitter won’t invest in newer infra (they *finally* paid their Google cloud bills!)
By limiting the usage of the product, Twitter is basically saying that you either pay up or you just eff off. And since majority will continue with free plan, they are of no significance to advertsers, who already have a trust issue with Twitter’s experimentational attitude.
Elon’s vision (probably) is to make Twitter a pure tech company monetized via subscription, but he is running too fast and breaking too many things - including the trust of users and advertisers.
A great timing for Mark Zuckerberg to beat Twitter, without even getting into Jiu-Jitsu with Elon Musk?
What’s your take?
*: I was the PM for Y! SMB product, the hosting product and the only product inside Yahoo which was monetized via subscription