Twitter redesigns its “new follower” email with a perfect mix of beauty and functionality – what happens to Twimailer and Topify now?
Last week, I was checking my bacn account on Yahoo! Mail and noticed that Twitter’s new follower email looked different. The newly-redesigned email (pictured below) sent out by the ever-growing social network is a winner – both from a design and a functionality standpoint.
For starters, the new email that left Twitter labs has Twitter’s logo on it (something the old email was missing – pictured below) as well as the familiar “cloud” background – which makes the message instantly identifiable. On top of that, the email now includes a lot more useful information about your new follower: the amount of followers the user has, how many updates the user has posted, as well as the number of other Twitter users your new follower is following, are all displayed to the right of the user’s Twitter avatar. Rounding out the newly-redesigned email is a link to the user’s profile, a link to block the user, and a link to turn off email notifications altogether. All around, this is a much-needed update to Twitter’s new follower email notification.Surprisingly, Twitter is not the first service to offer emails with more information about your new follower. Twimailer (picture below) offered this service in the beginning on March (2009) and redirected any new follower emails through its own email servers, which then were routed to the end-user’s mailbox. Topify is another service that takes took care of Twitter’s lackluster new follower emails. But now that Twitter offers the same functionality offered by Twimailer and Topify with the standard Twitter service, what will become of these services? This seems to be a common occurrence when it comes to “supporting” services – ones that build on top of another service/use another service as a platform. To illustrate how this happens here’s an example: as of today, there are many voice recorders for the iPhone in the iTunes App Store. But once iPhone OS 3.0 is released, they will – for the most part- become useless, as the new iPhone OS will have a bundled voice recorder. This is exactly what happened with Twitter’s newly-redesigned new follower emails and Twimailer and Topify. Unless Twimailer and Topify provide extra functionality, they’re dead. I the same light, voice recorders will become useless once OS 3.0 hits – for the most part. Why for the most part? If third-party voice recorders provide extra functionality, they will still be of value. To take this example one step further, picture Twitter releasing its own iPhone Twitter App to compete with the likes of Tweetie and Twitterific; if it’s free, then Tweetie and Twitterific will have a much tougher time competing. To make things worse for Twimailer nor Topify, neither seem to have a business model as of today.
Update: Topify offers me the ability to reply to a direct message by replying to Topify through email, something Twitter doesn’t itself provide in its email service. But is this enough for Twitter users to use Topify?
One thing I would like to see Twitter add to the redesigned new follower emails is the user’s profile summary. But perhaps Twitter wants me to click through to the site to see that information. Something tells me, though, that it’s not of Twitter’s primary concern.
Posted in Cloud Computing, Decisions, Social Networking, Success, Twitter