Twitter’s down again. Oh, duh.
This time when twitter went down, Dare and Om were kind enough to link to an earlier post I had made where I guessed about Twitter’s messaging trouble and floated an idea for a twitter proxy. Thanks for mentioning us guys.
But, what about this proxy idea? it’s so easy for us to do, where is it??
Why don’t you guys release the twitter proxy?
As I wrote to Louis Gray some time ago, we started to. Actually we ripped out the messaging functions in our over-zealous feed reader and first built a twitter clone with a few more features.
But something happened: I got tired of free services.
I’m bored of free
That’s why our reader isn’t out of the shop yet, either.
When we made the feed reader, everybody who signed up created an increased marginal cost: our little bots were crawling all these feeds and creating millions of assets, and we had no clear way to recoup a dime. Sure, servers are cheap, and our infrastructure is cheaper, but still. Down the road we ought to figure out a Freemium approach, but the potential seems less than enormous.
Twitter has the same problem, as does FriendFeed and Google Reader. These are all are wonderful services, with some of the most enthusiastic and supportive user bases around. They make users happy. But today they are cost centers. Ads? Meh. Even Techcrunch wants to stop paying half his revenue to FM media and the ad sales networks.
What’s better than free? Better
I happen to agree with most of what Kevin Kelly says. I already know that charging on the interwebs is crazy talk! I also already know that no one will pay for crappy content, for derivative blogs posts, or for LOL cats.
Go ahead and say I’m nuts: “No one has ever been, or will ever be, successful by charging for digital assets. Everything on the Internet should be free free free. You should just run adwords and be happy with whatever Google decides they should give you.”
That’s all true, except applesomehowmanagedtosell4billionsongsonitunes and is now the largest retailer of music. Not bad. But what would happen if they were more open, more flexible and less retail focused? What if they offered new types of digital products? I dunno, but it could be interesting.
We do happen to have this nifty infrastructure for a digital sales system. And after all that work with the reader, we have our backend fairly sorted. We also have some ideas for some new products, and new takes on old products.
It would be a shame to not take a shot at this beast and try for something better than free. I would rather try–and fail hard– than to not try.
If we fail, who knows? Maybe Twitter will still be down and won’t be too late to fire up that proxy service. Update: changed title and removed a rant.