I am racking my brain trying to decide what to make of the deal in which Yahoo has announced a partnership with Twitter to more deeply integrate the two platforms.On the business side, there doesn’t appear to be much near-term impact, as no money is changing hands or set to change hands.
My first conclusion: What an awful press release. The headline is “@yahoo + @twitter Sitting in a Tree… T.W.E.E.T.I.N.G.” Seriously. That’s the headline. What are we in Kindergarten?
On the technical side, the deal is an acknowledgement by Yahoo that it will go with social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter rather than developing its own social networking platform. What’s does this mean on the businsess side? I have no idea, but this “deal” is remarkable for its lack of any meaningful business exchange, such as money, revenue-sharing, salesforces, e.t.c.
As far as the two platforms being integrated, it’s somewhat of a meaningless announcement. The Web is integrating itself. Social networking services are about as integrated as you want them to be. What do I mean by that? Well, because of the proliferation of Twitter APIs and its integration with Facebook and tools like TweetMeme and TweetDeck, you can pretty much plug in Twitter wherever you want, right? The Yahoo announcement comes down to nothing more than them acknowledging that they need to open their platform to more successful social networking platforms, rather than trying to build social networking tools themselves.
What about further down the road? On the money side, I imagine that Twitter has some vision of monetizing its feeds here, and possibly plugging into Yahoo’s big marketing relationships in the future. Yahoo, meanwhile, wants the traffic. But there are some crucial questions here: Will the existing Yahoo advertisers want to advertise next to Twitter content, or would they rather be placed next to premium content? And how do you count the “Twitter traffic”? Is it the same as a page view on a Reuters story? I am skeptical of the business model here, primarily because most social networks so far have failed to lure the big advertisers, who aren’t sure about advertising in the wilds of social networks.Look at what happened with MySpace.
Third question: What exactly is Twitter. And what does it mean to be integrated with Yahoo? Well, Twitter is a messaging platform. So, Yahoo has basically decided to integrate a new third-party messaging platform, without paying them any money. I think that’s all the deal comes down to.
Read on for more news on the topic:
Yahoo dramatically expands Twitter relationship (AllThingsD).
Yahoo gets closer to Twitter (New York Times)
Yahoo to announce broad Twitter partnership (PaidContent.org)