The Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin, reporting from the prestigious Allen & Co. Sun Valley conference for the media and business elite, says “Sun Valley: Diller and Malone Pessimistic on Twitter.”
She adds “Diller was pessimistic about Twitter’s prospects for making money,” and:
Malone said he didn’t think that an advertising model made sense on Twitter, but there was some hope for a subscription model. “Sooner or later people will be willing to pay for these services,” he said. Warren Buffett privately told him that he would pay $5 a month for YouTube, he added.
As much as I respect Liberty Media’s John Malone and IAC’s Barry Diller, I couldn’t care less about what they think about Twitter and it’s business model (isn’t it obvious anyway?). I would even go so far to say that I would be infinitely more interested in what Twitter CEO Evan Williams thinks about Malone’s and Diller’s businesses, rather than the other way around. And I won’t even get started on Buffett’s ideas on YouTube’s business model.
In fact, when I read the WSJ article I was reminded of my dad complaining about the music I liked in high school. The music he listened to growing up (probably played on a banjo or something) was infinitely more interesting than all this new stuff. Ah, the old days.
Diller and Malone both preside over huge companies with a variety of assets. Some of those assets, like Ask.com and Expedia, would even be considered new media or Internet startups. But just like the truly old media guys, Diller and Malone are already dinosaurs in a fast changing world. They have no clue what Twitter is even about. So why in the world would we care what they think about its business model?
A lot of people wondered how Google would ever make any money with a search engine. That problem was obviously solved. In any community with vast numbers of highly energetic and passionate users, there will be a variety of ways to make money. The only thing that can stop these services are high costs (YouTube and Facebook suffer from this) or someone building a better mousetrap (Facebook did this to MySpace who did this to Friendster).
By the way, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch isn’t impressed, either, saying that the site is “a tough investment to justify because it has not yet come up with a sustainable way to make money.” He also gave the exact wrong answer to two questions: “Asked if he was considering buying Twitter, Murdoch said, “No.” Asked about selling MySpace, he said, “Hell no.””