Just How Big Is TweetMeme Anyway, And Why Does It Matter?

There is a lot of chatter about TweetMeme’s rather robust growth to over 18 million unique monthly visitors on Compete.com. That puts them ahead of well known sites like LinkedIn and gmail.com with 15 million and 9 million visitors, respectively, on the service). In fact, Tweetmeme currently sits as the 68th largest site on the Internet, according to Compete.

What does TweetMeme do? They offer other sites a “retweet” button that makes it easy for readers to send story links to Twitter. We use it on all our sites, you can see it on the top right of this post. They also have analytics around tweets sent via the service, and a home page that shows the most retweeted Tweets at any given time. It competes with Digg, TechMeme, Google News and other news aggregators to show breaking news.

But is TweetMeme really so big? The short answer is no.

Comscore tracks 721,000 worldwide monthly unique visitors to TweetMeme. Quantcast says the number is more like 2.4 million. Google Trends barely registers TweetMeme against URL shortener service Bit.ly, which is similar to TweetMeme in some ways.

We believe Compete is simply counting all those javascript widgets that sites like us include on their stories. Which means it’s basically aggregating all of the traffic stats from sites that use TweetMeme. Not so useful.

Why This Matters

Everyone is trying to take real time Twitter data and massage it into a useful, filtered news stream. Bit.ly has a new product on the way called Bit.ly Now. Digg is rebuilding the service from the ground up to take advantage of Twitter data in figuring out what’s hot sooner.

If TweetMeme is really drawing that much traffic, it puts them ahead of Bit.ly and near Digg in total traffic. And that makes them a third contender in an already crowded space.

In the upcoming war between Bit.ly and Digg (and maybe TweetMeme), what matters, besides access to Twitter’s data flow, is the total traffic base to start things off. The ability to index and categorize links on the fly is also important, and all of these companies are working on ways to properly analyze data in milliseconds, which is hard to do properly at scale.

A lot is going to happen in this space in the near future.