A new article from eMarketer points out some interesting facts about media darling Twitter. The most significant, of course, is that they still haven't made money. But apparently, according to some internal documents stolen by a hacker, they are projecting income of $400,000 in Q3 of 2009, and $4 million in Q4. Wouldn't you like to be able to magically increase your revenue by an order of magnitude in a single quarter?
How are they planning to get there? Partially by increasing the number of users of their free service. Twitter is projecting they'll have 25 million users by the end of 2009, 100 million users by the end of 2010, and 350 million users by the end of 2011.
Holy dot-com bubble, Batman! That's a lot of users and a lot of growth. But wait! What does the Harvard Business School say about their users? According to eMarketer, a study from HBS estimates that most users send only one Tweet in the lifetime. (My guess is they sign up, get on, Tweet "Hey, I'm on Twitter now" and then get on with their lives.)
So here's the question: when Twitter quotes its figures (especially to advertisers), does it need to distinguish between active users -- say, those who Tweet at least once a week -- and those who sign up and never do anything with it? After all, it's pretty difficult to sell whatever you're advertising when the people you want to sell to aren't there. It would be like saying everyone in a country without electricity owns a television. What good does it do them? Or you?
Twitter certainly has its fans and no doubt will find its niche. Somehow, though, I don't think it's going to hit its projected number of users. At least not unless they use the same registration process the Democratic machine in Chicago uses to register voters for elections.