Anyone want to buy Twitter?

Advertising will likely be the answer for Twitter, but it'll take tough decisions from suits tapped into the vein of pop culture

Despite Twitter's popularity and ballooning public image, the micro-blogging site may never be able to turn a profit. That was the prevailing attitude at Allen & Co's Sun Valley, Idaho media conference, where the topic du jour was Twitter. None of the old school media moguls in attendance seemed optimistic about its profitability and others flat-out said they would not be interested in buying.

Though the conference was closed to the press, the Wall Street Journal absorbed the negative vibe from audience members. Liberty Media chairman John Malone and IAC chairman Barry Diller both expressed a gloomy forecast for Twitter, the WSJ reported:

"Despite the hype about Twitter, Diller was pessimistic about Twitter's prospects for making money, audience members said. Malone said he didn't think that an advertising model made sense on Twitter, but there was some hope for a subscription model. 'Sooner or later people will be willing to pay for these services,' he said. Warren Buffett privately told him that he would pay $5 a month for YouTube, he added."

News Corp's Rupert Murdoch also didn't have much hope for Twitter raking in the dough. When asked if he was interested in purchasing, he said it'd be "a tough investment to justify because it has not yet come up with a sustainable way to make money." That means "no." When asked if he wanted to sell the rapidly degrading MySpace, he said, "Hell no."

Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter, was also at the conference. He kept quiet and darted away from reporters at the end, according to the Journal.

Sun Valley attendees are obviously the cream of the crop when it comes to powerful media types -- but should we care? Though I have strong personal doubts that Twitter will ever build a sustainable business model or maintain its current popularity, when I hear Rupert Murdoch defend MySpace, of all things, but pooh-pooh Twitter, I see a twinge of near-sightedness and an inability to grasp what's contemporarily cool.

These people also believe the public will pay for services such as Twitter and Facebook. I find this very hard to believe. We like these sites because they are free, simple, and accessible. If asked to shell out money to participate -- especially in this economy -- I suspect users will drop like stocks and these social networking sites will find themselves without a hell of a lot of people to connect.

And, as TechCrunch's Michael Arrington points out, no one thought Google would make money at first, and now look what's happened.

Advertising will likely be the answer for Twitter, but it'll take tough decisions from suits tapped into the vein of pop culture.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social networkingtwitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?