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Twitter Gets Major Funding, Adds New Data Center 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
1sockchuck writes "Twitter has announced new funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with reports placing the new round at $200 million for a valuation of $3.7 billion. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the microblogging service added more than 100 million new accounts in the past 12 months. That kind of growth requires a lot of servers, so Twitter will open a new data center in Sacramento as it begins to operate its own facilities, following a path forged by Google and Facebook."
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Twitter Gets Major Funding, Adds New Data Center

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  • Yay... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:48PM (#34567588)

    Another company blows all their money on a data center...

    In 5 years, the newest fad will arrive, and Twitter will be out of business, or suffer extreme drops in revenue and users.

    Don't believe me? How's MySpace these days? Or Gawker? Or one of the other dot-coms that went under after their popularity waned.

    • by entotre (1929174)
      True, but because twitter is driven by marketing, i like better comparing it to Second Life
    • by matazar (1104563)

      My question is how many of those 100 million accounts post more than 1 message before they become forgotten. How many last more than a week....

    • Re:Yay... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dummondwhu (225225) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @07:05PM (#34567828)
      Yes, it surely makes no sense to grow as much as possible when the opportunity presents itself because it's going to all come undone at some point. We might as well hide under our beds instead of going to work. Hell, I know the work I'm doing now is going to be a useless piece of shit in a decade, so why bother?
    • Also in 5 years the value of the equipment in said data center will have dropped substantially.

      The land, if they own it, can be sold easily.

      So why does this matter again?

    • by EnsilZah (575600)

      Suffer extreme drops in revenue? what revenue?

      • by NiceGeek (126629)

        Well, I'm not sure about anything else but they do have sponsored trending topics. So there is at least some revenue.

      • by tsa (15680)

        I tried to find some infor on their turnover and profit over 2009 on their website but I couldn't find anything. Where can you find such info?

    • Another company blows all their money on a data center...

      In 5 years, the newest fad will arrive, and Twitter will be out of business, or suffer extreme drops in revenue and users.

      Don't believe me? How's MySpace these days? Or Gawker? Or one of the other dot-coms that went under after their popularity waned.

      Yes. Clearly if Myspace can't make it, no other company can make it and every company that is doing well should just give up.

      -Taylor

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      'cause obviously once you build a data center optimized for Twitter, it can't possibly be used for anything else... hey, maybe somebody should invent a general purpose computer, instead of these damn servers that can only host one application!
      • by dave562 (969951)

        But why should Twitter build the data center? There are companies out there that just build data centers. I almost went to work for one two years ago. They own the One Wilshire building in Los Angeles. They were planning on building something stupid amount (15?) of data centers over the next couple of years. It would be interesting to see the ROI figures on Twitter's data center build out.

        • "There are companies out there that just build data centers."

          The fact that they "just build data centers" is no guarantee that they will build them better than the company that build datacenters on top of something else. Once you are big enough in an industry, there's no guaranteed benefit in going out for a provider. In fact you are *guaranteed* in the limit that it will be cheaper to do it yourself (your costs will be just the same than those of the provider but you will save on its benefits).

          So the que

    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      But this data center is for twits.

    • Re:Yay... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AbRASiON (589899) * on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:23PM (#34568664) Journal

      How did this get +3 on the moderation? I'm going to guess twitter haters?
      Not all huge sites are shrinking in size, look at facebook, youtube, google themselves.

      Twitter is one of the greatest new forms of communications in the last 20 years.
      My first 2 tweets stayed for 6+ months iirc and were just "twitter is lame" and "update: twitter is still a wank" or something like that.
      I didn't 'get' twitter.

      Now that I do, I do not understand why on earth SMS still exists, this website / application(s) allows me to talk to people instantly across the planet with a 0$ fee (unlike SMS) and I can include pictures, links or whatever, I can use trending topics to see what is big in the world right this second! (yes, that's big)
      When someone posts "is that an earthquake?!" I go to twitter, type in earthquake and can have confirmation in seconds

      Twitter allows manufacturers, famous people and important people to instantly share messages and thoughts with people. There is an awful awful lot of stupid and irrelivant shit, mark my words I understand this but inbetween all that it's amazing, utterly amazing.

      I can see my friends have conversations - and yes they can do it privately but they can also do it publically, that ability to see their conversation - is almost like being at a resteraunt or bar where everyone is having a chat - my ears are tuning in (if I desire) to their conversation and I can at any moment join in, all wirelessly, all instantly - in any timezone.

      I don't often praise things and it sure as shit took me a while to get it, infact until you literally have an account and follow a couple of people, I totally get hating on it - the interface is silly to understand at first, once you do get it - it's incredible, utterly incredible.

      My only problem with twitter, or rather their only problem is that I simply can not fathom how they can monetize it - in any way. Google however purchased Youtube and I distinctly recall me saying "what the fuck is google thinking? 4 billion? That's stupid - this is googles first big mistake" - I mean there was no ads back then and it was 5 years ago, bandwidth is fucking expensive and they just paid money to serve up terabytes of data a day, why?!
      Anyhow: TLDR is that twitter should utterly replace SMS, without question, SMS is completely dead to me, all my friends with twitter I can tweet in seconds, it's a fucking incredibly powerful and clever communications tool, once you learn it, you'll love it.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        (Are you trolling? If so, I bit the hook..)

        How can twitter "replace" SMS? Twitter *uses* SMS. I virtually never go to the twitter web site, I receive the tweets directly on my phone, via SMS. (Yes, there are twitter apps too, but they don't seem any more convenient to me.)

        • by AbRASiON (589899) *

          No twitter CAN use SMS, do you not have data on your mobile phone plan?
          Are *YOU* trolling?

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            Of course I have data.. but since I want the tweets to 'come to me' rather than have me seek them out(*), SMS seems like the only way to currently do that.

            (*) I have in the past wished for a twitteremail gateway so I could get a whole page of very frequent tweeters as an email once a day. But generally, I like getting it via SMS.

            • by AbRASiON (589899) *

              You don't have push notifications on your phone?
              Maybe in the US, SMS's are free but where I am they vary from 5 to 30cents - that's a lot of money over thousands of tweets.

              Data is the future, SMS packets are dead soon.

              • by pspahn (1175617)
                Sure, but I think it's silly to declare Twitter as the next and only thing. I don't use it, most of the people I know don't use it, so that's kind of a barrier in itself. Should I have to go around and tell people they need to use Twitter so I can keep up with them? Why not just Facebook? Why not Google Voice? Honestly, I like Voice (so long as it remains free), and it's kind of awesome that I can just send a text message to a bunch of people much more quickly at a computer. I don't have to worry about who
                • by AbRASiON (589899) *

                  You / someone had to go through a point of telling people "hey you should try facebook" same with google voice and all social networks.
                  Now, facebook has hit huge huge penetration. I'd almost say /most/ 15 to 40 y/o westerners, using the internet are on facebook, speculation but honestly - few people I know don't have it and I'm 32 and know a lot of hateful nerds who wouldn't normally sign up for stuff like that.

                  Twitter is here to stay.

      • SMS is completely dead to me, all my friends with twitter I can tweet in seconds, it's a fucking incredibly powerful and clever communications tool, once you learn it, you'll love it.

        SMS might be dead to you. And I am guessing you are in USA where a text message will cost anywhere between 5 to 20 cents. But for a majority of the world which is not you, SMS is THE form of communication other than a voice call. I pay less than one cent per SMS. And I sent SMS to any cell phone, whether it is a smart phone
      • Twitter is one of the greatest new forms of communications in the last 20 years.

        I stopped reading after that comment, you must be completely out of your mind if you really thing blasting out 140-character blurbs that are only indexable/searchable by stupid free-form hashtags to random sets of people who are 'following' you constitutes 'one of the greatest forms of communications over the last 20 years'. Twitter is not about communication, at least not two-way communication, it's broadcasting, and a very limited and in most cases useless implementation of it. As soon as you try followin

        • by bint (125997)

          "[...] Read the rest of this comment..."

          I kind of understand why you don't like twitter ;)

      • I love Twitter also and would just like to make a clarification to this:

        There is an awful awful lot of stupid and irrelivant shit, mark my words I understand this but inbetween all that it's amazing, utterly amazing.

        One man's stupid and irrelevant tweet is another person's highly useful tweet. If someone tweets about a great new rap song they just heard, I couldn't care less. But to fans of that music genre, it could be an introduction to a song that they love. Similarly, if I tweet about something my ki

      • by neoform (551705)

        >Twitter is one of the greatest new forms of communications in the last 20 years.

        Feel free to tell me what twitter's business model will be (they still don't have one).

    • You're missing a lot of fads that are gone, such as facebook, YouTube, Google... there's just nothing on the internet anymore.
  • by santax (1541065) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:49PM (#34567612)
    Now, when they get that second server, will we be able to at least get 255 chars in a tweet?
    • by Stregano (1285764)
      No, but 10,000 more fake Puff Daddy twitter accounts will appear in its place
      • No, but 10,000 more fake Puff Daddy twitter accounts will appear in its place

        Hey, now. Don't be mad at P. Diddy. It took so long for Puff to register alternate names that some people got them before Diddy did. Puffy's doing his best, and I'm sure Sean will get the last of them before his next name change.

    • by tux0r (604835)

      It's not the technology upgrades which will engender longer tweets, it's profitability.

      When the new subscription rate slows and Twitter decides that promotion/advertising revenue isn't enough, I expect the ability to tweet longer will be a "premium" (paid) enhancement. 140 char tweets stay free, but if you load up your account with Twitter credits ("Twedits"?), every block of 70 extra chars costs you x twedits...

    • Now, when they get that second server, will we be able to at least get 255 chars in a tweet?

      The limit is based on the restrictions of making tweets SMS-compatible, so, no.

  • by Denny (2963) <slashdot@den n y . me> on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:50PM (#34567624) Homepage Journal
    Are Twitter at any point going to get a revenue stream?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is a popular response, but they've been profitable since they began the Google/Bing search deals last November/December. It looks like this round is to catalyse and sustain growth.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rochocinco (1959854)
        Where are you getting that info? There were a lot of reports end of last year about them being profitable. But, in August of this year, they admitted they are not profitable. There is an interview on CNN Money.
    • Wait, why would earning actual revenue be a requirement for a startup being worth investing millions in or paying billions for?

      Now that's just silly!

    • by eepok (545733)
      Access to personal records = $$ Marketing = $$ Understanding influence dynamics = $$ They're just selling info and access.
    • by omnibit (1737004)

      Are Twitter at any point going to get a revenue stream?

      Yes. They're now selling promoted tweets for up to $100,000 [wsj.com]. Engagement rates were significantly higher [mashable.com] than what was seen on Google's sponsored links, though that's likely due to its novelty. With enough promoted tweets however, you could start to see some serious cash rolling in.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Are Twitter at any point going to get a revenue stream?

      Ah the Ponzi scheme.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:51PM (#34567644)

    ... of 1,428,571 $1.40 checks, so it'll take a while before they can actually use it...

  • by ferrocene (203243)

    I'm still blown away that a company such a simple idea, run on such a simple site, requires a CEO.

    He's like the CEO of txt messages.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      Not really, some text messages can send pictures, music, and sometimes video (depending on the phone). Well, if you are using a N-Gage QD, maybe.
  • by thewils (463314) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @06:53PM (#34567662) Journal

    Consecutive articles on /. $30M for biofuel research, $200M for twitter. We're fucked, but at least we can tweet about it.

    • by mistiry (1845474)

      Completely.
      Utterly.
      Entirely.
      Correct.

    • But biofuel research has no immediate profitability or practical necessity (since we have oil), while Twitter is a highly, um, used, uh, and even my refrigerator can use twitter if I, uh, and there's a lot of profit just waiting to be, uh, figured out how to, um, be made somehow [yeah, we're screwed]
  • Simple concept yes, but simple to scale? no, simple to manage adding new features? no simple to manage adding 100M new accounts a year?, no Simple to do way over 50 million tweets a day? no In January of this year they were doing 50M tweets a day, but they have added 100M users since then. Just think of how many they are doing now, so yes they need a CEO http://blog.twitter.com/2010/02/measuring-tweets.html [twitter.com] Plus they have to figure out how to make money on all of this.
  • Twitter servers in Sacramento? One more reason to hope California falls into the ocean.
  • by dskoll (99328) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @07:15PM (#34567956)

    Maybe I'm too old (hey... get off my lawn! Sorry...) but I just don't get the appeal of Twitter. Billions of tweets per day of which maybe 7 aren't banal. Never mind the business model, I just don't get anything about Twitter.

    • Well, granted, but you see: people are stupid.
      • by eepok (545733)
        You see, I continually miss that step in my line of attempting to rationalize things like Twitter and Facebook. I always go the route of "people need to feel like they're noticed" and "people who don't like who they were try to reinvent themselves online instead of real life"...

        ... but I can just stop at "people are stupid".
        • Huh? Did you post something? Sorry, I almost missed it.

          Seriously though, this is why you and I will never become rich. We don't identify with the mass of humanity that finds such things useful or interesting.

          I always sucked at trying to guess answers when I watched Family Feud. The answers had nothing to do with what was right, but what was popular. *shrug* Lucky thing I have a profession where people need that answers to be right, and are willing to pay for it.

          • For smart people there are two options: being a social pariah, or owning the society. Mark geekberg, I mean, Mark Suckerberg ended up owning it, literally.
    • Having all the stupidest people on one sight makes them relatively easy to filter away.
      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Having all the stupidest people on one sight makes them relatively easy to filter away.

        So, you're on twitter then?

    • by NiceGeek (126629)

      Speaking for myself it's a cheap way of keeping in touch with a group of people I know that share a similar interest. For the most part we treat it as a glorified chat room.

    • by shish (588640)
      It's IRC, badly re-implemented over port 80; the only real improvement is global stats, so you can see which chan^H^H^H^Hhashtags are most active at any time
    • by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @07:41PM (#34568232)

      Maybe I'm too old (hey... get off my lawn! Sorry...) but I just don't get the appeal of Twitter. Billions of tweets per day of which maybe 7 aren't banal. Never mind the business model, I just don't get anything about Twitter.

      Maybe you are too old. I use Twitter to see what my friends are doing. The old people will say "bah, well I *call* my friends and talk to them, grumble grumble", but I can't call everyone all the time. I have friends that I don't talk to that often, because we run in different circles, but that doesn't mean I don't care about them. If they got a new job or they're having fun on a vacation, I'm happy to know, just the same as if I bumped into them at a party and they told me. It's not highly meaningful discourse, but it's not different from a lot of the interactions we have with people on a daily basis. Only I don't have to live across the street from them to bump into them.

      Specifically, I live in Silicon Valley near San Jose, and I have a lot of friends who live in San Francisco. I'm busy, and I work crazy hours, so its nice to just get an idea for what they're up to. Or sometimes they'll share a funny link, and that amuses me. I use twitter on my Android phone, so it's best for idle time - waiting for a computer to reboot, waiting for the microwave, waiting for Starbucks to finish my drink. Just times where I have a few minutes, and I'd otherwise just stare off somewhere. At Starbucks, actually, I normally try to chat with people so as to not be antisocial, but sometimes there's no one to chat with. So I check twitter and find out what my friends are doing.

      And often they're talking about plans they have to go to a party, or go to a concert or some cool event, and then I give them a call and might go myself an meet up with them. So I get to go to a party with a friend that I may not have realized was happening, just because of twitter.

      So plenty of people don't get twitter, but I'm a real person who gets real use out of it. I may not have explained it perfectly, but all I can say is that it fits in with my lifestyle. I'm a 26 year old techie, your lifestyle may vary and twitter may be useless to you.

      But more so than anything, I find it funny how people always feel the need to let people know that they don't understand twitter.
      -taylor

      • by NiceGeek (126629)

        It's not age that is a factor, it's the unwillingness to adapt to new things. I'm 43, I remember fondly things like my Commodore 64, my Atari 2600, and 70s 80s music, but I refuse to be stuck there.
        Times change, you either change with them or you get left behind. I find Twitter an interesting and useful way of keeping up with my friends, some of whom are thousands of miles away. We've even used Twitter to co-ordinate a get together of some folks from across the US.

        • Sure, you can use any communications medium to coordinate anything. That's not the point.

          The point is that artificial, technological restrictions are stupid, and it's a mystery as to why people choose to submit to them.

          • "The point is that artificial, technological restrictions are stupid, and it's a mystery as to why people choose to submit to them."

            Because when you have no choice you don't have to think about the choice.

            People *like* being stupid for the most part (and by "people" I mean "everybody"; you and I included).

            • No choice? There's an entire Internet of choice. There were alternatives to Twitter before Twitter was thought of. What are you talking about?

          • by NiceGeek (126629)

            I'm sorry, what exactly am I submitting to? I wasn't aware I was being forced to use Twitter.

            • by gottabeme (590848)

              You're not. You're enlightened. :) The mystery is why anyone does choose to submit to them. I never said anyone is forced to.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        Thanks; that was a good explanation. I think it really is an age/generation gap.

        I keep up with my friends via email or IRC (I *do* get IRC because you can have relatively meaningful conversations over IRC, or you can use it Twitter-like just to splat up up interesting URL.)

        When I have idle time, I don't like to be communicating, checking Twitter, checking IRC, etc. I like to just do nothing. I seldom get a chance to do that, so zoning out for a bit and disconnecting is very refreshing.

        • Thanks; that was a good explanation. I think it really is an age/generation gap.

          I keep up with my friends via email or IRC (I *do* get IRC because you can have relatively meaningful conversations over IRC, or you can use it Twitter-like just to splat up up interesting URL.)

          When I have idle time, I don't like to be communicating, checking Twitter, checking IRC, etc. I like to just do nothing. I seldom get a chance to do that, so zoning out for a bit and disconnecting is very refreshing.

          Yeah, I do notice that sometimes I have this weird anxiety about being connected, like I should be reading something on the web, even when I have nothing to read. I get so used to checking the phone, I'll keep checking it, and have this odd anxiety when nothing is there.

          Finding a balance is interesting. The connected world offers so much, its easy to get sucked in. When I'm walking through a parking lot, its easy to read my phone and just keep my peripheral vision out to avoid hitting something, but that's

      • by tsa (15680)

        That actually makes sense. Now I wish my friends would use Twitter. Actually, that's the main reason why I don't have Twiiter and Facebook: none of my friends use it.

    • Turns out a lot of companies give away free stuff on twitter. I made an account a few weeks ago solely to try and get said free stuff. Also turns out that a lot of other people do this, so it isn't working out too well for its original purpose.

      But on the bright side, if you follow the right people it's quite interesting. Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson), for example, is active there and definitely worth following.

    • [sigh the standard karma whoring response to posts about Facebook and Twitter.]

      Maybe I'm too old (hey... get off my lawn! Sorry...) but I just don't get the appeal of Twitter.

      It's more likely you don't comprehend the universe doesn't revolve around you and other people have other interests. (BTW, I'm 47, so how old is 'too old'?)

      Billions of tweets per day of which maybe 7 aren't banal.

      Let's check my twitter stream today... One tweet containing my daily photo shoot 'assignment' (from a site dedicat

      • ... A pretty typical day, none of it 'banal'.

        In fairness to the GP, most of twitter's posts are banal. The fact is these aren't randomly distributed.

      • by he-sk (103163)

        One tweet containing my daily photo shoot 'assignment' ...

        LNK PLZ, K TNX BYE! ;-)

    • My grandmother doesn't get the appeal of the internet either, but that doesn't make it irrelevant.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Then you aren't an attention whore.

      Attention whoring is what twitter is for, thats all. Its so people who think someone else gives a shit about what they can say in half a thought have a place to spew their ignorant incoherent incomplete thoughts.

      Other than that, its about the biggest step backwards in communications ability I think we've experienced in history. I think a world wide EMP that wiped out all electronics would be less damaging than twitter and SMS in general.

    • by Zorque (894011)

      It's kind of like the Kardashians. Literally nobody knows what it does, it doesn't contain a single original or intelligent thought, and it's everywhere for no reason.

    • by PCM2 (4486)

      Come on, this is such a stupid argument. Sure, I agree that what your cousin is doing this afternoon is pretty banal and unimportant. But what my cousin is doing this afternoon could be funny, interesting, amusing, or just nice to know because he's my cousin. And it makes no difference to me whether you're interested in what he has to say or not.

      But who needs e-mail when we already have fax machines.

  • What's Twitters business model again? Sure, lots of people are babbling on it, but what's their plan for monetizing the babbling? Or do they plan on pulling an AOL and trading their massively overinflated stock for stock in a company that actually has tangible assets?
    • by eepok (545733)
      Watching webs and spheres of influence, sticking in moles to be paid influencers. It's all marketing and data mining. Maybe a bit of recording youthful indiscretions for future blackmail.
  • How many Twitter accounts *are* there? How many unique (in the scientific, not cultural way) individuals actually use twitter? What percentage of that 100 million and then the entire population are actually just marketing accounts?

    "Hey guys! All the impressionable consumers with disposable income are over here now!!!"
    *five minutes later*
    "@JackNormalGuy "Yo dawg dez nue kix are sweet! U shood check there syt, srslyLOL!! bit.ly/4Tju7"

  • by otis wildflower (4889) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:11PM (#34568548) Homepage

    Seriously, between taxes, power costs, employee costs, etc.. Why build datacenters in hightaxland? I figure NV, WA, TX, FL would be better for datacenters, and ideally WY or SD if there's adequate fiber available (and ya gotta wonder, given the military presence especially in western SD)..

    Local costs of living are low, utilites and taxes are low, real-estate costs are low.. Do everything remotely and have local monkeys do hands-on if you can't reach remote KVM or serial/ILO, and fly folks out for the occasional builds..

    • I thought the same thing. There are lots of places with enough smart people and low costs of doing business. Blacskurg, VA (well, Christiansburg - right next door - actually) is a great place. If there hadn't been a small sinkhole on the proposed site we would have gotten a $500M datacenter.

      Fat internet pipes, cheap land and taxes, and a big university (VT) to pull cheap college grad (and undergrad) labor from.

    • by basotl (808388)
      Well they have one planned for Salt Lake City, Utah which seems to be an area catering to the tech market recently. The article stated there was no response on if that location was still on schedule. The exact location for Sacramento seems unclear to me. It sounds like they may be taking advantage of readily built space.
  • by drolli (522659) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:43PM (#34568838) Journal

    Can anybody explain the long-term business model of twitter?

  • And 99,595,000 of them were created by bots for spamming.

    Only about 50k of those have been on any day following the day the account was created.

    The company I work for runs a website with about 3 million registered users ... we see about 15k of them on a day to day basis, probably 2.5 million of them have never logged in after they created their account, and the rest only use it once or twice and never come back.

    You can certainly say its because people aren't interested in what we offer, and you'd certainly

    • by NiceGeek (126629)

      and 99% of statistics are pulled out of someone's ass.
      I love Slashdot and it's armchair experts.

  • *Golf*YAWN*Clap*

  • Okay, lets look at this.

    On one hand you have Twitter, a way of communicating with the world instantly. While it has it's uses, it's made up of the idea that what you have to post is so fucking important, that everyone needs to see it.

    Facebook. the "social network" that everyone is on. Everyone has to share their photo's, info, and every fucking thing else of their lives. While there is some privacy, it seems to be very crappy. And it is also based on the idea that what you do is important enough

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