It was only a year ago that Tweetmeme declared their intention to be the king of retweets. And for most of the past year, that was the case. Their retweet button was everywhere. Of course, that was before Twitter launched its own button last month. The result of that introduction? An immediate 20 percent drop off in button impressions per day, Tweetmeme found Nick Halstead noted today.
Luckily for Halstead, Twitter let him know their button-killer was coming and gave Tweetmeme a chance to get out of the way. Twitter even agreed to license some of Tweetmeme’s technology and enter into a business agreement with them about the button. The phrase, “killing me softly” comes to mind.
Halstead shared a bit more about the experience in a FriendFeed (yes, it’s still around) conversation during The Gillmor Gang taping today. “Yes we lost 20% at first – but we have continued to grow. Twitter [is] growing even faster, the whole point was to make the ‘whole’ ecosystem grow faster,” Halstead noted. He says that despite the huge plunge in button impressions, they didn’t lose a lot of sites sending them data in the grand scheme of things. “We’re still at 220,000 sites,” Halstead said. He then reiterated that they were still growing, and revealed that part of the agreement was “not to suddenly switch everyone from one button to another.”
“We never made a penny from buttons, but we made Twitter grow,” Halstead noted. “More links = more links for us to filter + sell the data for,” he continued. And data is the key behind Tweetmeme’s new post-button strategy with Datasift, the new product they’re working on.