KEARNEY COLUMN: Changing of the seasons for Twitpic?
It must be something about the changing of the seasons.
It was around this time last year that Noah Everett, founder of Charleston-basedTwitpic, received bad news from Twitter. The popular microblogging site had decided to create its own photo-sharing feature that would directly compete with Twitpic.
Everett responded with aplomb. He said it was “confusing” that Twitter, whose platform had been an open playground for developers, was now claiming the real estate for itself. But he accepted the change, and he took the opportunity to announce the launch of Heello, a microblogging service that would directly compete with Twitter.
Fast forward to this month, and Everett found himself fielding another phone call from Twitter. And again, the news wasn’t good. Twitter is removing third-party image hosts like Twitpic from its official apps, and third-party Twitter clients that help users organize their Twitter feed must now use Twitter photos by default.
Again, Everett said he understood Twitter’s business interest in “eyeballs” and the advertising money that comes with them. And he pointed out “you can post to TwitPic from our site itself, from our email, from our official clients, and, also, we’re still supporting all the other Twitter clients, like Tweetbot.” But his frustration was clear.
Everett said if anything, Twitter’s recent changes are going to drive developers to a retooled Heello, set for relaunch by the end of the year.
Everett said his third product, Helpmint, a software-as-a-service app for customer service, has “a few thousand beta users” and that it, too, will be released more broadly by the end of the year.
All those moving parts would be a lot of flux for a large company, but Everett only has four employees, down from six earlier this year. Twitter’s changes will not “kill” Twitpic, which was once valued at $10 million.
Everett says he still gets offers for the company, but so far he hasn’t been willing to give up his first big success.