With Twitter’s success in providing real-time information to users around the world, we’re left second-guessing what the future of the web would become. At the time of writing this, Twitter is the 11th most visited site in the world as well as in Nigeria, according to Alexa, with over 100 million users worldwide.
Last week, Yarnable.com, a new micro-blogging startup based in Sokoto, in Nigeria’s hilly northern region launched in private beta. For now, you need an invite code (yeah, like a VIP pass) in order to gain access to the platform.
Interestingly, I’ve got only 20 invites for the first 20 people that comment on this post and who are interested to sign up and test the platform.
Yarnable founder, Ahmad Mukoshy – also creator of the URL-shortener, Yrn.me – in a blog post announcing the private beta launch described Yarnable as “the long awaited 140 character based micro-discussion site that allow users to do more than just a typical conversation.”
While I’m impressed with the service, I’m yet to see something that could turn me away from Twitter or Gistcaster. Already, there are indications that Yarnable will look different and unique especially with the categories you can create for different topics.
What are the features?
Yarnable has a very cooool interface that makes you want to stay and keep talking (oh yeah…yarning). It also features Status Updates, Private Messaging, Discussion Boards and Topics, Private Board, User Profile, @mentions and some other features. No #hastags yet.
Users can generate discussions around Technology, Entertainment, Careers, Politics, Business and lots more which are neatly organized in the Yarnable’s discussion boards. For now, this feature is what makes Yarnable look different from Twitter or Gistcaster. According to Mukoshy, the private beta session will last a month and would be open to the public at BarCamp Nigeria 2010 on May 22.
With an impressive amount of Nigerians and Nigerian companies already using Twitter, there seem to be a debate about Nigerian startups and tech entrepreneurs capitalizing on this rather than trying to launch their own version.
Dejo Fabolude, an industry analyst who blogs at Digital-Crossings.com suggested that “what we need is Nigerians using APIs to build new services on top of the well-known platforms.” While I agree with Dejo, my concern is about the business models these startups are adopting.
Twitter recently launched their ad platform which is officially called “Promoted Tweets” and already includes ad partners like Best Buy, Virgin America, Starbucks, and Bravo. Advertisers will be paying on a CPM basis initially, with plans to adjust the model once Twitter can better gauge how people are engaging with Promoted Tweets.
If Yarnable offers something unique, grow their user base, goes mainstream, possibly get funding, they might become the next big thing.
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