And now Tweetcloud.com is gone?

It seems to be a bit of a watershed for social media sites right now. Google+ is nibbling away at Facebook, which itself might be about to undergo radical change. Delicious has introduced a new look and feel that hasn’t been entirely well received. Social Mention disappeared for a short while, making us realise how  much we really liked it (and probably gaining traffic as a result). And now, Tweetcloud.com would appear to have bitten the dust.

I loved Tweetcloud.com. It offered something different from other Twitter cloud sites, because most of them just create a cloud based on your own timeline. Tweetcloud would create a cloud based on a specific search term, and it was very, very useful for that reason. Want to know what the biggest issues are around Obama? Type it in, look at the biggest words in the cloud, and find out almost instantly. Interested in what’s happening in Libya? Want to know how people feel about Toyota? Or just looking for reactions to the latest football news? It was all there, in one neat, instant cloud.

And it didn’t stop there. Tweetcloud also had a really funky widget that I used all the time in dashboards, for precisely the same reason.

Not any more.

For three days there was a faux-naive message saying something along the lines of “Ooops, something went wrong! We’re fixing it as soon as we can.” Today, there is no tweetcloud.com. Nada. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

In a way, the strangest aspect of this, for me, is that when I searched for other mentions of tweetcloud.com on Twitter, no one else was complaining. My first port of call, whenever something breaks, is to see whether other people are saying it’s broken on Twitter. But for tweetcloud.com, it seems either I’m the only person who’s noticed, or who’s bothered about it. Or, perhaps, who really used it?

If so, then maybe that’s why. The freemium economy only really works at scale, and perhaps Tweetcloud.com just found itself serving bazillions of clouds without enough revenue. Compete.com does seem to indicate declining traffic figures. for tweetcloud.com. Quantcast doesn’t even have data.

So what I thought was a stunningly useful tool that successfully gave an overview of Twitter for any given term, was perhaps not really perceived as such by other people. What a pity. It was such a good idea, someone should have invented it…