What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

How long does Twitter have to not become MySpace?

Dan Weissmann Oct 27, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

How long does Twitter have to not become MySpace?

Dan Weissmann Oct 27, 2014
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Since going public last fall, Twitter has yet to announce an actual profit. And as the company got ready to announce quarterly earnings this fall, analysts expected the company to announce another modest loss.

Twitter has introduced some new features in recent months—including a “buy” button for certain brands—but nothing especially dramatic. How much time does the company have before it gets lumped in with companies that never quite took over the world, like MySpace? 

Twitter makes some money by selling ads. Just not a profit. Analysts say ads aren’t a great fit with what users want from Twitter.

But analysts also say that Twitter is so useful to so many people, that profits must surely be there, somewhere. 

“I always like to say that the day television was invented was not the day the 30-minute sitcom was invented, or the one-minute advertising spot,” says Rebecca Lieb from The Altimeter Group.  

However, some of the analogies suggest that Twitter’s success is not a sure thing.

For instance, Rob Enderle invokes the old joke about the kid who smiled like crazy while he shoveled through a pile of horse manure. “I honestly think there’s a pony in that pile,” he says, “but it’s harder to discover because Twitter’s just so very different than everybody else is.”

He thinks Twitter’s got maybe 12 to 18 months to find the pony. Which, again, he thinks is in there somewhere. “Somebody eventually will come up with something that works” he says. “And if it isn’t Twitter, then Twitter will likely be replaced by that company.”

Like how Google replaced Yahoo, and Facebook replaced MySpace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.