We’ve heard an unconfirmed rumor that conversations are taking place between Twitter and Twitter-focused app marketplace oneforty. This is PURELY speculative and it’s unclear if talks are about a possible acquisition or a partnership. But if Twitter is thinking about going on a shopping spree, why would it consider oneforty?
OneForty recently launched its marketplace to fill a gap in the Twittosphere: an App Store for all things Twitter. The site lists over 1300 free and paid applications and services built on Twitter’s API, where people can search for, rate and buy Twitter services. The site also features lists of the most popular apps on the marketplace, and lists the “best” app for nine types of Twitter services, such as apps for business, url shortners, image sharing, news, and travel. And the site hopes to be somewhat of a social network, with users having the ability to create profiles of their favorite Twitter apps and services.
It makes sense for Twitter to acquire oneforty for a couple of reasons. First, Twitter just raised a boatload of money, so we all know that the microblogging network isn’t too strapped for cash. When the news broke of Twitter’s $100 million infusion, there was a ton of speculation about what the money would be used for and of course, acquisitions were at the top of the list. Twitter remained mum as to how the funds will be used but clearly, a portion of that ginormous amount of cash could be used towards acquiring Twitter-related applications like Bit.ly or oneforty.
And Twitter may not want to reinvent the wheel when it comes to developing their own app store. oneforty’s site is compelling because it provides a service to Twitter users that isn’t out there yet. And oneforty’s social component of listing your favorite apps and sharing those apps with friends could be integrated into Twitter users’ profiles.
And of course, a Twitter app store would also be a way to engage and help out the thousands of developers who are building applications and sites off of Twitter’s API. While Twitter currently lists some applications and also has a wiki-based directory of Twitter-related sites and apps, but the directory’s layout layout isn’t easy to navigate and has a cluttered interface.
Oneforty also has a defined business model, which could be a possible revenue stream for Twitter. The way oneforty makes money is fairly basic. If you want to download Tweetie’s iPhone app, oneforty provides an link directly to Apple’s App Store, allowing oneforty to collect an affiliate fee. Of course for the free downloads and sites, such as TwitPic or TweetDeck, oneforty will just direct you to their sites, where you can download or access the application. oneforty also lists Twitter-related books and paraphanalia, with affiliate links to Amazon.com. Laura Finton, oneforty’s founder, told me recently that oneforty would eventually become a full-fledged e-commerce platform, where developers can sell their apps on the site itself.
We contacted Fitton to confirm our deny the rumors of talks with Twitter. She said that oneforty would “presumably that would be a great fit” with Twitter but gave us a “no comment” on whether talks were taking place with the microblogging network about an acquisition.