Twitter is Failing Miserably at Making Money

March 9, 2012 2:00 PM EST
Microblogging (and addictive) website Twitter has gained many accolades as well as users over the last year for its ability to quickly share news, thought, photos, and links, thereby connecting people and businesses on a whole new level.

But, despite all the hoopla, one item still remains: Twitter is bleeding money like crazy.

Revenue reported for 2010 came in at $28.5 million, according to information obtained by Gawker, but to get that stinky green Twitter spent nearly three-times that amount for a net loss of $67.8 million. For 2011 through April, revs were $23.8 million leading to a loss of $25.8 million. Over the same period, social media giant Facebook (Nasdaq: FB)(NYSE: FB) took in 26 times more turnover with a third of it ending up as profit.

It doesn't look like spending will stem any time soon. Twitter has allegedly doubled the size of its workforce from 450 in the middle of 2011 to about 900 people now.

Twitter also hoped to take in about $140 million in revs for 2010, reports Gawker, a far cry from what it actually brought in. Things aren't shaping up well either. BusinessWeek recently said that Twitter's third CEO -- Dick Costolo -- is taking in $1 for every $2 spent and there's no "hard evidence" that Twitter has been able to capture more in terms of ad revs.

Investors, however, are betting that Twitter will be able to realize more revenue in the coming months. So far, about $700 million to $800 million (plus investors buying an additional $400 million of Twitter stock) has been put into the company, moving its valuation over $10 billion.

Overall, we like Twitter and find it a useful source to get investor insight on markets and see what ideas are being thrown around. Gawker puts it best though: "And Twitter has huge advantages. There's the big user base. There's Twitter's role in enabling high-profile protest movements. There's all the free celebrity content. There's the fact that no viable direct competitor has emerged in the past six years. There's also the fact that the service has convinced the vast majority of its users to share their thoughts, interests, and relationships publicly, a highly exploitable level of visibility that has even Facebook envious."

Investors should also check out SINA Corp. (Nasdaq: SINA), which has its Chinese-language microblogging site Weibo.

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