According to multiple sources, Twitter is launching its own photo sharing service, spelling bad news for third party options like Twitpic and Yfrog that currently fill the void. Twitter is expected to make the announcement at the D9 conference this week in California.
With citizen photojournalism staking a place alongside traditional news coverage as an omniscient platform for distribution, Twitter’s move into photo sharing may even feel a bit belated. Thanks to Twitter’s lack of a native photo service, third parties like Twitpic and Yfrog have managed to build healthy traffic rankings worldwide, commanding global Alexa ranks of 100 and 189 overall, respectively.
Of course, in Internet-land all that traffic translates into a more universal language: lots and lots of dollar signs.
Which lends itself to the question that’s bogged Twitter down as a sustainable business since the beginning – the company has more than enough funding (back in December the company raised an additional $200 million): How exactly was it going to monetize well enough to pay all its investors back?
The ill-fated “dickbar” – which Twitter hoped would be a viable advertising stream – was seen as invasive and detrimental to the overall experience, causing Twitter to yield under user pressure and retract the service. On the other hand, recent investments in third party applications like TweetDeck (acquired for $40 million) have lead some (such as Peter Yared at Venture Beat) to point to advertising across other platforms as a way to build a sustainable model.
But as it stands, Twitter is still grasping at straws.
Finally entering the photo sharing space could solve a piece of the larger puzzle for Twitter as they try to streamline user experiences across both mobile and desktop platforms. Let’s see what they manage to come up with.
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