According to Web audience measurement service QuantCast, Twitter has stopped growing. After peaking at 24.4 million U.S. visitors per month, the traffic has died down to about 22 million. That's an abrupt about-face for a service that blossomed from 1.4 million readers to those 24 million in a matter of about five months.
Oh, Fail Whale, where are you now?
Take a deep breath
OK, one data point from a single source is hardly a death certificate for the hugely popular microblogging site. Twitter is not going to backpedal, shrink, and die from here. But it's enough to make you sit up and think about the concept of massive growth and what to expect from those bottle rockets.
Other legendary highfliers, like Starbucks
And that's where the stocks stop, drop, and roll.
Twitter isn't even public yet, but has already run into a glass ceiling of sorts. Maybe it's just a seasonal effect with schools ringing out for summer and everybody leaving their twitterrific Apple
Dollars and sense
Just how much value would there be in a Twitter IPO? Multibillion-dollar estimates seem to assume astronomical growth for years to come, but Twitter has no real revenue model yet, and 22 million users won't pay the pied piper with that sort of valuation.
How about Facebook? It's one of the most popular sites on the Web today with more than 90 million monthly visitors, and with early round investments from Microsoft and others that would imply a $10 billion valuation or more. And Facebook does make some money from advertising, unlike Twitter. But it ain't no Google-like marketing powerhouse. Facebook probably will go public eventually, but it'll take years to figure out exactly what it's worth. I'm not touching that IPO, when it comes around.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.