Twitter killer in the works?

VC Bill Gross' UberMedia said to be working on back-up plan -- an alternative to Twitter -- just in case the microblogging site keeps giving it a hard time

CNN's scoop today that UberMedia is plotting a social network to compete with Twitter - the microblogging site with which it has a love/hate relationship - has naturally generated quite a buzz on Twitter itself today. Twitter in February temporarily banned a couple of UberMedia's Twitter apps, including  UberTwitter (now called UberSocial), for violating the company's terms of service.  UberMedia's well-known leader Bill Gross, a VC heavyweight, tweeted liberally about that situation but not so far on the Twitter competitor speculation.

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Twitter, which recently said 1 billion tweets are sent every week, has started cracking down on more third-parties of late as it starts to compete more with them and evolve its business model.

Here's a sampling of what's being said about this latest possible threat to Twitter...

The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal on Twitter competition:

Venture capitalist Bill Gross' UberMedia, which bought up several Twitter application developers, is planning to build a competitor to the short-messaging service. It got me thinking: Who competes with Twitter now? Sure, they, like every media company, compete with *everyone* for eyeballs, but they don't really have any direct competitors left in the social networking around short messages space.  THE REST 

Mashable's Christina Warren on UberMedia's direction, considering rumors it wants to buy leading third-party Twitter client TweetDeck:

Although we agree that it is important for companies like UberMedia to diversify their options and reduce platform dependence, we're not sold on the idea that an alternative network could actually work. The buy-in that Twitter already has - with both users and brands - is huge. Convincing brands to maintain two accounts, one for Twitter and one for some Power Twitter Alternative will be an uphill battle. Moreover, Twitter has tremendous buy-in from developers of non-client applications. THE REST

Time Techland's Matt Peckham on how to beat the leader:

How do you out-Twitter Twitter? For starters, you offer stuff Twitter doesn't. Like more than 140 characters per dispatch. We call what we're doing with Twitter today "micro-blogging" for a reason (you know what they say brevity's the soul of). Anything longer, and you're hopping over to Facebook. Or WordPress. Or sticking "more..." links in your tweets that lead followers to separate websites--something Twitter could itself easily add by offering optional "more" pop-ups or drop-downs (why they haven't already is anyone's guess). THE REST 

Silicon Republic's John Kennedy on what developers might think:

If UberMedia succeeds in acquiring TweetDeck it would get its hands on a useful tool for extending the length of messages called Deck.ly. TweetDeck's engine also requires users to sign up for an account that is separate from their standard Twitter monicker. It remains to be seen if UberMedia will press ahead with its social network. But if it does it will be good news for developers who would welcome a new platform to serve. THE REST

PC Magazine's Mark Hachman isn't too excited yet:

The problem, as some have noted, is that the "plumbing" of Twitter needs to be scaled to hundreds of millions of users, in as real time as possible. Celebrities have also adopted the platform, and would have to be persuaded to switch.

Still, the aggregated collection of Tweets is quite small - just twenty terabytes or so.

So far, however, UberMedia seems to have sought to create a curated Twitter of sorts, a social approach to the Web and search that companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft are either actively pursuing or have been said to be exploring. THE REST

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