Tweetwall, The Twitter Display Provider Used By The Big Guys, Goes Self-Serve & Launches On iPad

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Apps, GT, Social, Startup
Tags: , , ,

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Tweetwall, a Twitter display provider for events (you
know, for “tweet walls”), which has been used by
customers including CNN, PayPal, Yahoo, Intel,
eBay, Microsoft, the Obama campaign, Sprint, and
more, is today launching a revamped version of its
service. The updated version of Tweetwall has been rebuilt from the ground up, and is also accompanied
by a new iPad application offering AirPlay support,
designed for smaller venues. If you’ve ever been to a conference or other event
where a big-screen TV or monitor was filled with live
tweets, then you may have come across Tweetwall’s
technology, without realizing it. However, prior to
today, the service has only been available to larger
organizations who have historically paid thousands of dollars for customized versions of Tweetwall, built to
their own needs. Founder and CEO Joel Strellner says that his
business was almost like “a consulting company,”
and attracted customers who wanted their own
particular designs and configurations, as well as
access to the Twitter firehose (which Tweetwall has
via Gnip), so tweets wouldn’t get missed if their event began trending on Twitter. He and his team would meet with the customers
beforehand to determine their needs, then create a
version of Tweetwall built to their exact
customizations. Though the service offers analytics
on the backend, it didn’t offer full moderation – and
that led to some incidents in years past, when people figured out you could hijack an event’s Twitter stream
and post disruptive messages. The new product changes that, now adding full
moderation capabilities. “Over the last two years, we started getting the vibe
that the way we were doing this isn’t the way we
should be doing this,” explains Strellner. “We should
be making it more of a self-service option –
something people can sign up for, create a Tweetwall
right away, and go with it,” he says. The company inched in that direction starting last
year, when it changed the pricing model, lowering the
rate to a flat $500 per event in order to attract more of
the smaller events. But even that price point was too
high, given the competitive landscape containing a
number of free options. Now the new self-serve version of Tweetwall is just
$49 per day, and offers a rebuilt backend with full
moderation capabilities and detailed analytics. During
the setup process, customers can choose from one
of four layouts, all of which are highly
customizable. Tweets load in faster, include images, and overall, the service runs smoother than before.
Instead of the Twitter firehose, self-serve customers
have access to Twitter’s direct streaming API, which
Strellner says should be more than enough for smaller
events. Tweetwall is still an HTML5 application, meant to run
on a computer connected to a big-screen monitor or
TV. However, the company has also introduced an
iPad app version of the service that works with
Apple’s Digital AV Adapter or AirPlay, to display
tweets on a TV or through a projector. The new service was soft-launched into beta just last
week, with 15 customers testing it, and today has
around 40 sign-ups in advance of a formal
announcement. Since its debut back in 2008, Tweetwall has served
hundreds of enterprise-sized customers, some like
CNN, which would use the service year after year,
paying each time for new customizations. The
Providence-based startup, which raised just $165,000
in the early days some through Betaspring, has been profitable for some time. It also operates Twitter
analytics service Socialping, which has around 1,000
customers and is self-sustaining, though now a
revamp for it is also planned. Going forward, the self-serve version of Tweetwall,
including the iPad app, will be offered alongside the
full service offering for those clients who need the
advanced customizations. More info is available here,
or you can download Tweetwall for iPad here on
iTunes.

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