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SaaS Week

Krissi Danielson

Another Day, Another Twitter-Like Service

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After the recent TechCrunch 50 Conference, an event produced by TechCrunch.com to showcase new Web 2.0 startups, many people were less than thrilled by the finalists that were the so-called 50 most promising startups, especially Yammer.com as the winner of the TechCrunch 50. Around the Web commentary has fallen in a range of generally positive to outright scornful -- something that I found interesting.

Some, like Kevin Merritt of Blist, make the case that Yammer matters because the form of communication that it (and Twitter) facilitate is something that is needed and useful in many enterprises. He states that Yammer provides a benefit over Twitter because it can be limited to users within an enterprise.

Bernard Lunn of ReadWriteWeb was more scornful, stating that Yammer brings nothing to the table that an enterprise customization of Twitter couldn't offer, and that the business model Yammer claims to have is not as sound as TechCrunch claims (and the majority of posted comments agreed with Lunn's assessment).

And for the downright scornful angle, the Drama 2.0 Show had some choice things to say about Yammer and its business model, likening the business model to extortion with a particularly vulgar but potentially fitting analogy.

I confess that I remain something of a skeptic on microblogging. I don't use it myself and for me can't imagine it as being anything but a waste of time. I can see it being highly useful in some limited business situations but I agree with one of the commenters to Merritt's post that it seems it would make more sense to build some kind of feature like that into email or AIM rather than have a zillion standalone offerings that all mimic one another.

And it does seem like there are a zillion of them. Every other day it seems like there is some Twitter-like company launching. Yesterday it was Present.ly. Wonder how long it will take for another one. Is the market for microblogging really big enough that we need this many different versions of this tool?

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