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Twitter earns $100m, but loses wow factor

Internet & BroadbandTwitter is the talk of the web at the moment, with word that its latest round of funding could be worth as much as $100m. That would bring the company's total value to a whopping $1bn.

But not all is well in the world of microblogging. Despite the added attention directed toward the service lately, it looks like its once-unstoppable growth may have started to slow. So what's going on?

Twitter trends

The new stats come courtesy of web analytics firm Hitwise. Its researchers looked at visits to Twitter's web-based interface from last spring through now and found the site's upward trend appears to have hit a snag. Twitter's market share has been dropping downward since midsummer, Hitwise finds, with its search volume showing a significant shift since about April.

It's worth noting that the majority of Twitter users use a third-party client to access the service - only about 20 to 30 percent of people go through the Twitter web site, depending on which set of metrics you believe - but, as Hitwise points out, web-based traffic and search volume should hold some correlation with the rate of new user adoption.

Other Hitwise data suggests the same effect, showing the number of new users coming to Twitter from its top traffic sources - sites such as Facebook, Google and MySpace - has fallen consistently across the board from April to now.

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The Twitter truth

Clearly, Twitter is in no danger of disappearing; its website alone pulls in 54 million visitors a month, according to some recent estimates. And the fresh influx of cash is certainly a positive sign for the company's future.

Still, these statistics make you wonder whether the initial "wow factor" is starting to wear off. It's not an unreasonable theory, nor would it necessarily be a negative reflection on anything Twitter's doing. After all, no one can expect to maintain a 3,000-percent year-on-year growth forever.

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