Is FIM’s launch of Twitgoo the beginning of the end for Twitpic?

April 15, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Developers, Review, Social Media

Fox Interactive Media (FIM) recently soft launched Twitgoo, a new media hosting site that makes it easy to post text, images, and video to Twitter. Twitgoo was incubated inside of Photobucket, and unlike many of it’s competitors, it was built to scale, leveraging the same core infrastructure as Photobucket and Tinypic (which process more than 10 million uploads a day and more than 5 billion image requests daily).

In addition to scalability, there are a handful of things I like about Twitgoo:

  1. Twitgoo supports both photo and video tweets with text.
  2. Twigoo APIs can be leveraged by 3rd party developers.  For example, Photobucket users will soon be able to tweet from Photobucket.com using Twitgoo. Funkatron updated its Spaz client, which now uses Twitgoo to upload pictures. Picnik.com will soon allow users to take edited pics and tweet them using Twitgoo. And, more partners are coming soon.
  3. Rather than failing, tweets and images are queued within Twitgoo if Twitter (or it’s third party sites) go down.  This is especially helpful, the now famous Twitter “fail whale”.
  4. Twitgoo doesn’t store your password in its database, and you can see the public timeline of pictures without logging in.
  5. Twitgoo shows your Twitter background on every tweet, so when a user clicks on a Twitgoo link, they’re taken to a page with the same background theme as your Twitter page.

Here are some of the entertaining pics I’ve seen on Twitgoo so far:

If users and content continue to grow, Twitgoo could mean the beginning of the end for similar services like the hugely popular, Twitpic. Twitgoo is certainly a strong alternative to Twitpic.   Twitpic currently boasts 1 million + users, but it’s run by just one guy, Noah Everett, making scalability a challenge.  While Everett has done an impressive job of increasing traction of the site to date, it’s hard to imagine that a one man band will be able to maintain a leadership position for long against FIM’s engineering resources and Photobucket’s core infrastructure and existing business relationships with 3rd party developers.

Adding fuel to the fire, today, TechCrunch reported “major hiccups” on Twitpic:

“While the website is still reachable, it’s no longer possible to log in with your account and all direct links to uploaded photographs have gone dead, with a message saying that the picture in question does not exist anymore (ironically, it suggest other photos under that message, but also with dead links).”

While the issues were eventually fixed, TechCrunch points out:

“If TwitPic can’t keep up with the current growth, someone will sooner or later step up to the plate and challenge its dominance on the Twitter photo sharing playing field. Unless Everett comes up with a way to stabilize the experience, users might run to alternatives…”

To compete against FIM  in the long run, Twitpic will need a fast and furious influx of cash or an acquisition. Twitgoo has only been up and running for two weeks, and Photobucket hasn’t pushed it… yet. My bet is that Twitgoo will gain traction quickly as word about the service spreads, it is integrated into Photobucket, and more FIM partners (and, maybe even other FIM properties like MySpace) jump on the development bandwagon.

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