What you need to know - Wednesday 12/01/10

Katie Gatto · December 1, 2010 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1453

Heartland Robotics raised $20M; Twitter at $4B?; Yammer $25M; Farmville is localized for Japan

The Android OS is growing in popoularity, according to a report released Wednesday from Nielsen. In an October survey, Apple’s iOS and Google's Android OS were tied for  the title of “most desired operating system”.

 Zynga released Wednesday a localized a version of its FarmVille game in Japan. The Japanese version, called Farm Village, will be available early in December on Mixi, a Japaneese social network.

Cisco said it would like to buy LineSider Technologies. LineSider Technologies makes network management software. Cisco's target date for acquisition is Q2 of 2011.

StatCounter, a Web analytics company, sent out a release, citing data, collected in-house, tha claims BlackBerry had a higher percentage then Apple’s iOS of mobile Internet usage in November.

The  bidding on Twitter has raised its valuation to above the $3 billion mark, and possibly close to $4 billion. Russian firm, DST, has submitted an offer based on valuing the company at more then $3 billion, say multiple sources.

Heartland Robotics raised $20 million to make low-cost robots for manufacturing. The round was the company's Series B round of funding.

RingRevenue raised $4 million  for a pay-per-call marketing service. The company has more then  than 25,000 publishers, and allows clients to add phone-based campaigns to their marketing efforts.

Yammer, an enterprise social networking site , raised  $25 million in Series C round funding. The round was led by U.S. Venture Partners, with funds also coming from Emergence Capital, Charles River Ventures, and Founders Fund.

American Express and Zynga announced that customers with Membership Rewards points, an American Express cardholder benefit, can now use them to pay for limited edition virtual goods, in Zynga’s games.

Cyber Monday sales were estimated to be, at minimum, 20% higher than last year.  Cyber Monday sales online have risen every year for the past five, according to data released by comScore.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.



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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.