Carnival of the Mobilists #158

This weeks Carnival of the Mobilists, the definitive guide to the must-read blogs on everything mobile is hosted over at Tsahi Levent-Levi's VoIP Survivor blog. Check it out here.

Twitter on the Money Trail again...

Twitter is this phenomenon of which some people say it is the business that never was. Not that Twitter never was but that it never was a business... which is why they apparently need fresh money, or more specifically $20m, or so it is said (see also here) The valuation? A cool $250m. A lot, you say? Well, they allegedly recently turned down a $500m acquisition offer from Facebook, so it's a bargain!

Now, one of the issues they are facing is (never mind the unresolved business model) that a) they need to bulk up on infrastructure to cater for the 750%+ growth in 2008 and b) (OK, there are probably more reasons) they are trying to bring back SMS notifications to the UK (which it stopped last summer claiming it cost them up to $1,000 per user p.a.). And on the latter I wonder why: does anyone still uses this? I am using Twitterberry, cooler users use any one of a plethora of iPhone clients, and there are enough clients for "other" phones out there, too. It is more convenient, more powerful, a better interface and - for Twitter - much, much cheaper. If they are not satisfied with it, shouldn't they perhaps invest some $100k to build a Twitter client for all phones? I mean, it's not THAT complex...

As to business model, I am fairly confident that they will be able to translate this staggering amount of traffic into $$$. Their recent acquisition of Summize, which provides a newly introduced search option for Twitter, is one step. My hunch would be that they will utilize some of the momentum their growth afforded them will allow them to acquire some of the value-adding services (GigaOM names Twitpic and Stockwits) as well as ad-funded clients (e.g. Twitterific serves you - on the free version - an ad per hour of use).

Oh, and yes, I am a fan and Twitterer. Follow me here (vhirsch). And, no, if you're an investor, Stephen Fry's account on why this is so great will not necessarily convince you it makes sense (although he is VERY enthusiastic about it) ;-)