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Simplicity in its UI and business model make it one to watch
The online world is moving toward super simple sites. I guess that's not surprising given the clutter. It's no wonder that sites with super simple sign-up processes take off, at least in the short term. But sometimes, that's all you need - people in the door to start helping you tweak the product.
Yammer was named the winner of the TechCrunch 50, which was a significant reason for the surge in sign-ups. But Yammer was smart to make the sign-in process super simple as to not lose anyone coming in the door this week. I don't know the other companies participating, so I can't say the company did or didn't deserve the top prize. And, I wouldn't have been compelled to test it out if it were not doing what it is doing, which is being an internal Twitter for corporations.
Basically, it's micro-blogging what you're doing at work. It's so Twitter-esque, it even looks like an exact clone, which raises the question about how closely one can mimic another company''s service?
It's a nice compliment to Twitter, even though Jack Dorsey has told me that he thinks Twitter's UI could use some improvement.
The smart business model is also what makes this company one to watch. Basically, if enough employees within a corporation join a network, a company's human resources, or whomever is assigned Big Brother in an organization, may want to take it over to keep the peace inside the corporate walls. Or more likely, to make sure people are doing what they're supposed to be doing. For this ability, a company will have to pay. It's unclear how much a company will pay, however.
So, here's the super simple sign-up process.
After that, you get an email to activate your account. Since it's not Gmail, or another Web service, Yammer cannot easily authenticate you so you have to go back to your inbox and activate your account. Once you click the link in your email, you have to finish the process. Once again, it's super simple.
As you can see, you're just asked for your full name, job title and password. The next step is to invite your colleagues. And, it does make sense to invite them because after all, this service doesn't make much sense if you're all alone Yammering to yourself.
According to TechCrunch, the service saw 10,000 people sign up in one day. Now, that's pretty fast adoption.
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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.