As Twitter Slips, Potential Competitors Close In

It’s no secret that Twitter has more registered users than actual users. There are stats that say that almost half of the accounts are no longer active. Stats that show how 90% of the Tweets come from 25% of the people and that Twitter’s growth has begun to level off. Add to that, all the internal squabbling and a recent move to block third-party developers and Twitter’s star isn’t shining quite as bright as it used to.

Why? And what now? Fortune has the “why” covered. They’ve just published an extensive article that looks at the history of the company and the roadblocks they’ve faced. If you want all the gory details, it’s a good read.

Here’s what caught my eye;

YouTube Adds Channels as Part of Major Overhaul

NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CW and YouTube? The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a major YouTube overhaul that will have the site acting more like a TV network than a repository for random, user-generated videos.

The article says that YouTube is prepared to spend up to 100 million dollars on content created exclusively for the site. Content that goes beyond Rebecca Black’s “Friday, Friday” and endless hours of animals and babies doing funny things. What YouTube is after, is content that will have people tuning in week after week, just like they do for their favorite shows on TV.

AOL Shifts from Freelance to Full-Time

Freelancers have been turning out copy for magazines, TV and online sites for many, many years. Some of the copy isn’t the best, but there are plenty of great freelancers out there who know how to craft a great story and can do it from inside the walls of their own home (or the local Starbucks.)

Arianna Huffington doesn’t agree. That’s the rumor, anyway. According to Business Insider, AOL, under the leadership of Huffington, is doing away with freelancers. Not only are they looking to work with only full-time employees, but one source says, those employees are expected to be at their desks at 9:00 am.

Business Insider posted an email that was sent to them from a former freelancer and I found this paragraph particularly interesting.

Conde Nast to Sell Share in Social Site? You Reddit Here First Second

It’s been almost 5 years since social news aggregator Reddit was acquired by Conde Nast.

Since then, the publisher has done its best to let Reddit go the way of a Digg Dodo, but thanks to some fundraising and running a lean team, Reddit has managed to achieve some epic growth–hitting 1 billion pageviews no less!

It appears that Conde Nast is not quite ready to let go of the cash-cow that Reddit could still become and is instead mulling a sale of a stake in the site. According to CNET,

The publisher would continue to own the site, but it’s talking to investors about selling a stake. Sources tell me it is floating a $200 million valuation…The theory: taking Reddit outside of Conde Nast’s corporate structure would make the site that much more valuable, and would give it a better chance to compete for capital, managers, and employees alongside the likes of zippy start-ups like Quora, StackExchange, etc.

Boom or Bubble? Twitter Valued at 100x Revenue!

Hands-up if you’d like to sell your company for 100 times your projected earnings for 2011?

Sorry, it will…take a little…longer to…type this sentence…with just one hand.

On the back of a recent $200 million investment–and a reported $80m secondary market purchase–the Wall Street Journal is reporting that both Google and Facebook are sniffing around Twitter.

Both Google and Facebook have discussed buying Twitter in the past and have kept their lines of communication open, people familiar with the matter said. One of these people said companies including Facebook and Google have expressed “latent interest” in an acquisition.

When it raised the $200m in December, Twitter’s valuation was only $3.7 billion. Now it appears that Google and Facebook are kicking around valuations anywhere between $8 billion and $10 billion.

Rumors Say Linkedin May Be First to IPO

Facebook may get more than its share of buzz, but Linkedin, the social media network with an eye toward business relationships, has been quietly sneaking up on the world. According to the LA Times and a variety of other sources, Linkedin appears to be priming itself for an early 2011 IPO.

Sources say that Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase all took meetings with Linkedin back in November and the timing couldn’t be better. With the financial world all a flutter at the thought of investing in a social media site, Linkedin would be smart to jump in before Facebook steals the spotlight once again.

AOL & Yahoo Plan Merger? Building an “Exclusive” on…Well, Nothing Actually

Sometimes, merger and acquisition rumors are juicy, thrilling, with a sense of mystery.

Other times, they’re a lame duck and you wonder why anyone–let alone Reuters–would waste the time writing the story.

Exhibit A:

Exclusive: AOL mulls breakup, then merger with Yahoo

Ooh, that’s a BIG story, right? AOL, trying to reinvent itself and Yahoo, looking at a boatload of options to survive.

This is a huge story for a Monday in December. Let’s examine the “smoke” to this “fire” shall we?

…The plans are still in the exploratory stage…

Oh, OK. But I am sure the two sides are deep in talks, right?

…and Yahoo has not been contacted, the sources said…

Oh well, I’m sure Reuters has someone reliable that can be quoted here.