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Twitter Drives The Speculation Machine

Google Acquisition? Google Killer? You be the judge

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The rising speculation among the technorati out there is that Twitter is the next big acquisition. There have already been offers made and turned down, but one expert thinks the buyer will be Google or Yahoo because search can’t afford to miss out on Twitter’s potential as a disruptive force—the word “killer” once again deployed in hyperbolic force.

Twitter and Google Logos

We’ve yet to see a Microsoft killer, and perhaps the chances of a Google-killer are equally likely. But when John Battelle sends the conversation that way people tend to listen. On his blog, Battelle equated Twitter to YouTube, not in the sense they’re similar services, but in the sense that Google must buy Twitter the way the company “had to” buy YouTube.

Battelle argues, citing evidence currently under hack-attack at its host site that more searches are done on YouTube than on Yahoo, that buying YouTube was a search investment, not a video investment, which makes sense in light of the attempt at and failure of Google Video.

John Battelle
John Battelle

“So, fast forward to today,” writes Battelle. “What’s the most important and quickly growing form of search on the web today? Real time, conversational search. And who’s the YouTube of real time search? Yep. Twitter. It’s an asset Google cannot afford to not own, and also, one they most likely do not have the ability (or brand permission) to build on their own.”

Other speculation is that Twitter is a threat to Google itself, which seems to me highly unlikely, but it’s that type of hype that may make founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone less likely to sell. After all, Sergey Brin and Larry Page tried to sell out early with Google but had no takers—boy don’t those who turned down an opportunity to buy Google straight out of Stanford feel like dopes now?

It’s also this type of speculation that artificially inflates values. Remember when Facebook valuations hit $100 billion? That still seems ridiculously high even as Facebook approaches 200 million members, especially because, like Twitter, Facebook doesn’t have much of a revenue model. Without the way Google revolutionized search advertising would it have ever been worth what it is today?

And that’s the main problem now—with all of them: MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter—there’s no sustainable revenue model. None of them necessarily have to hurry, either. The first two have megamultinational corporations behind them for freedom to experiment. The other two have lots of venture funding. Stone and Williams still have Google IPO money and, presumably, what they got out of selling Blogger to Google before.

Though it’s probably unwise to disagree with John Battelle, I don’t see any sale anytime soon. In addition to no empty-wallet incentive, Stone and Williams are being lit up with words like “Google killer,” which may further deter them from selling out. If they run out of money and ideas, maybe then they’ll reconsider. 

 

Twitter Drives The Speculation Machine
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  • http://www.vbpoutsourcing.com KJ Rodgers

    The fact the Google cannot afford to pass on Twitter is true in my eyes. With real-time search becoming an everyday tool for many searchers, Google needs to attempt a buyout, or at least an investment of some nature.

    I do not think that Twitter will kill Google by any means. I view the two as completely separate genres of internet services.

  • Guest

    Interesting that Google launched their own Twitter channel just 2 days ago:

    www.twitter.com/google

    could they be window shoppping before opening the pocket book?

    • Jason Lee Miller

      i think that’s a definite possibility

  • http://www.trackermo.com Tracker Mo

    The real question is, with the recent spate of anti-trust accusations making the rounds, can Google afford to again snatch up the competition?

  • http://googledin60minutes.com Michael Sherriff

    I think it would be a crime if Google bought Twitter. I think Twitter should stay as it is and create a revenue stream rather than selling out.

    Google would abuse the information that Twitter has which is built by its users.

    Google, go find something else to buy and play with.

    @googlemyname

  • http://poseidonprofit.blogspot.com Poseidon SEO, SEM, SMO

    If Twitter wants to create something unique they should make a deal with Youtube.

  • http://www.pcdisorder.com david miron

    Check out my cartoon on this story at:
    http://www.pcdisorder.com/2009/03/google-test-driving-twitter.html

  • http://ladiespeacerumblecorner.googlepages.com/makemoney chris

    Twitter beware!

  • http://www.bustercollings.com/blog Buster

    anybody see evan on charlie rose last night? ever hear this before “it’s too big to fail”?? so smart. he briefly mentioned that google eventually found a great way to monetize.. uh yeah, they basically violated patent laws and impelemented ppc ads.. nothing genius about that. google lives on ad money, plain and simple. no ads, no money.

    but hey it’s free, so that’s good, but i seriously doubt tweeting will ever generate substantial revenue for whomever owns them. it will however be a nice (to the user) supplemental service to give away for free.. and that sounds perfect for google!

  • http://www.logodesignnext.com/ Logo design service

    that Twitter is going to get sold as all that VC money isn’t going to last forever and the lenders would surely want some return on their investment.

  • Patrick

    Twitter is much more than a Google-killer, in my view. All social networks currently are based on a lovely notion of equality and balance. Need, desire and want are driven by disequilibrium. Enter Twitter. I can follow you