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Twitter: Bad Tech = Good Marketing?

Rich and I were laughing the other day that Twitter's scaling problems, while annoying for users, have actually been a marketing bonanza for them. You would think that as an IM service, being down continuously would be a disaster. Users would grow tired of these technical issues and flee to a similar alternative, right?

Wrong. Twitter not only continues to thrive, its competitors continue to flounder. Check it out:

It's actually even better than that for Twitter. Avid Twitterers use the continued down time to not just complain, but also to tell everyone else how unbelievably great and valuable the twitter service is. Every other start-up wishes it could be so lucky.

Now there is the risk that Twitter could become the next Friendster and alienate its user base so badly that they end up fleeing to another site. The network effect has strength, but it does tap out. People are already commenting that they'd leave Twitter but for the fact that their friends are still on there.

So what would make people leave Twitter? Who knows? But it's clear that it'll take more than just better architecture. That problem actually is growing their audience.

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Comments (2)

Edubya:

The thing is, they do something very simple and do it very well (minus the down-time). The complication added by the axillary features like you find on pownce is just annoying for someone that likes elegant, clean, simplicity.

The recent issues have been annoying to be sure, but I've yet to see another site that is a valid replacement and that can also woo the userbase that makes twitter interesting in the first place into some kind of mass migration.

The people who are squawking and trying out the next best thing immediately are the early adopters that would be trying out the next thing ANYWAY. That's what they do. So far, they keep coming back.

Thanks to the broadcasting of the early adopter crowd about the issues of late, a fresh wave of users find out about the site and jump on board and add to the scaling problems. Those are the people that make a site viable in the long term. The early adopters are the first in and usually the first out when the ranks start to swell and sully the cache of being on a site that fewer people know about.

You're exactly right. Nothing but long term gain.

Bryn:

Maybe all the downtime is preventing twitter burnout.

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