ADOTAS – Reports are coming in that Twitter has acquired social media dashboard Tweetdeck for $40 million to $50 million, a lot more than the $25 million to $30 million Twitter client operator — and potential rival — UberMedia offered.
Twitter seemed pretty desperate to circumvent UberMedia, which had apparently been in talks with TweetDeck to set up a rival microblogging service. Perhaps Twitter is scared of UberMedia CEO Bill Gross, who is also CEO of Idealab and the founder Compete, Picasa (photo service acquired by Google) and Overture (search company acquired by Yahoo!) among others.
Since the beginning of 2011, the company (which changed its name from PostUp in January) has acquired major Twitter clients UberTwitter and EchoFon. UberMedia tools account for 11% of all tweets sent, which has made Twitter nervous. In what could be viewed as an exercise in power, in February it briefly cut off a few UberMedia clients briefly for API violations.
In February UberMedia had all but acquired TweetDeck when Twitter rushed in with an unsolicited counter offer that waylaid the deal. Understandably, Twitter doesn’t want one company controlling more than 20% of its ecosystem, but it doesn’t actually need Tweetdeck. It’s up in the air what parts of the social media reader will remain active (the client also monitors feeds from other social networks) or if the service will get shut down entirely.
Some speculate UberMedia was talking about building a Twitter rival just in case the microblogger kicked its clients to the curb permanently, but Gross is ambitious. I’ve been writing a lot lately about Twitter’s grim revenue prospects, but it seems UberMedia has found some clever ways to monetize the Twitter stream.
Considering there’s a lot of discrepancy on how active Twitter users are (Cornell University and Yahoo! Research suggested a mere 10,000 users are responsible for half of all tweets), would it be worthwhile for UberMedia to start up a Twitter competitor — one that would have better opportunities for advertisers?