Game Over. Twitter Wins.

By Josh Catone
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At the height of their notorious downtime woes many people were predicting the end of microblogging site Twitter. Users were understandably frustrated, and early adopters started looking for a replacement. FriendFeed was better. Plurk was better. was better. So said the pundits.

But with Twitter appearing to have solved most of their downtime issues, publicly available traffic stats suggest that the site is putting the kibosh on the competition as well.

According to Pingdom, Twitter’s uptime the past couple of months has been stellar. The site went from down 11.5 hours in July to down just 54 minutes last month. And has been down just 9 minutes so far in September. It even survived huge spikes in usage during Sen. Barack Obama’s and Gov. Sarah Palin’s speeches at their respective US political conventions a few weeks ago.

Blogger Louis Gray today compared Twitter to competitors using traffic data from Compete. What he found was that since Twitter has solved their uptime issues, the site has seen a spike in traffic growth. Meanwhile, competing services FriendFeed, Plurk, and have all seen their traffic fall from June or July highs or plateau.

It’s hard to argue that the downturn in traffic at Twitter’s competitors is seasonal or unrelated since Twitter has experienced such dramatic growth the last couple of months. And it all coincides with their drastically improved uptime.

It’s hard to bet against Twitter. They have 5 times more traffic than FriendFeed (according to Compete), and FriendFeed is generally viewed as their nearest competitor. In April, Mike Arrington said that downtime didn’t matter for Twitter because he needs Twitter more than Twitter needs him. This is the network effect at work. Twitter wins because everyone is already on Twitter, and now that their downtime isn’t an issue (knock on wood), nothing stands in their way. Except maybe Facebook, that is…

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  • Richard

    Tiwtter doesn’t scale. Game over.

  • drew

    Twitter’s downtime has been less coz its former die-hard users had already left.

  • cheesy

    Arrington is right, the fact everyone uses it means it’s going to be the defaqto, and now they’ve sorted out reliability at long last, I don’t see anyone taking them over on their own turf. Something better could come along, for sure. But look at the early mySpace days – noone would say it was pretty, or even worked that well, but everyone used it, so everyone else had to.

    And I think the comment above is just lazy quite frankly, I think it does scale, we’re seeing that right now.

  • voittos

    Josh Catone, you should ask Evan for his Rails implementation of the protocol — he mentioned it was somewhat complete when I talked to him in San Francisco on Friday, and he was thinking of handing it over to some energetic Ruby programmers.

    For those of you not paying attention to the world of Microblogging, Josh Catone and Louis Gray have taken it upon themselves this week to try to stop the Open Microblogging train, but it has left the station. Many thousands of Microbloggers all over the world are cross-subscribing and browsing profiles between sites.

    Josh and Louis are hoping you won’t notice that their analysis of Microblogging traffic does not account for the fact that servers are popping up like wildfire. Try searching for “Laconica” on Twitter.

    It’s a lot of fun and you can put it on your own site in about 5 minutes and start your own Microblogging network. Enjoy! (now has pretty URLs!)

    — Brian

  • @cheesy – You do remember Friendster don’t you? The one that everyone used to use before Myspace got popular?