Twitter has confirmed that it will launch its own URL shortener which will expected to be launched in the near future. Along with the news that the company has launched its business model at long last through offering promoted tweets at a cost to the advertising client, Twitter has finally made it into the real world as a legitimate money making product.
As Twitter has been losing money, essentially, since its creation, this is hailed as a significant step in the company's history. Thankfully, Twitter will not be swamped with advertisements that are often used on other websites to generate revenue in keeping the site going, but also free to the viewer. Instead, corporate accounts will be created to allow tweets to be sponsored and generate capital back to the advertiser.
However one of the brilliant things about Twitter not really seen anywhere else is the holes that were able to be filled by independent developers and entrepreneurs. Has Twitter finally grown up and begun leaving the innovators behind?
The API has been a key focal point for developers and entrepreneurs, allowing them to expand upon the popularity of Twitter - which has just seen the mark of 100 million users this week - to create widely used free products. Clients such as TweetDeck and Twhirl are two of the most popular desktop clients available, and UberTwitter for BlackBerry users, the most popular client on the device. But as Twitter now has its own in-house build application for the BlackBerry, this will no doubt in time overshadow UberTwitter's status and negate the need for any other Twitter client for the phone.
URL shorteners may seem like a trivial thing to many but it's what keeps Twitter going. With only 140 characters to use, full web addresses were impossible to share, which is where bit.ly and 3.ly - the shortest URL service on the web - came into play. Now with Twitter's own shortener service, these free services could be hit hard. By that, I mean shut down entirely.
Sites such as TwitPic in my eyes will remain unchanged and still be a great service for Twitter to take advantage of - that is unless they decide to create their own in-house solution and negate TwitPic altogether.
Twitter is a fine example of a Generation Y company - in a way that the founders were still relatively young men when they created the service but also offererd it to the world in a working, yet incomplete way. This allowed younger developers and those with an idea to capitalise upon this in a way never seen before. But, as all good things come to an end, Twitter may have just killed innovation dead in its tracks.