TechCrunch quits trickling Twitter docs

Documents show "the dedication and deep commitment of this team to making Twitter into a world-class company."

TechCrunch concluded its days-long drip of stolen Twitter documents with details on the company's conversations with Google and Microsoft.

In the process, TechCrunch is showing a bit of softness toward Twitter, saying that the rawness of the documents show "the dedication and deep commitment of this team to making Twitter into a world-class company."

There's a lot of nitty gritty in these documents, but the big picture shows Twitter spending a lot of energy on, well, everything. The company worries about Google, and how it can either beat the search giant at finding tweets or provide an application programming interface to Google and large corporations. Facebook comes up, with executives worrying about the various ways Twitter could be buried by the bigger social networking site.

Execs also discuss VIP users like Shaq and Diddy, with the possibility of giving them "advisor shares." Twitter isn't turning a blind eye to the groundswell of third-party Twitter apps, either. In meetings, Twitter executives talk about acquiring or supporting Twitpic, Photobucket, and Tweetie.

Of course, business models are discussed from various angles, with possibilities that include AdSense widgets and sponsored tweets. The overarching goal is to reach 1 billion users and monetize a small amount on each of them.

Overall, Twitter comes off well in TechCrunch's grand leak finale. In public, the company has been cagey about its business strategy and how it will play with others who want a piece of its user base, but it seems no stone is being left unturned behind closed doors. The images surfaced courtesy of a hacker who wanted to demonstrate how easily he broke into a Twitter exec's Gmail account and obtained Google docs.

TwitterGate may be over on TechCrunch's end, but it'll continue to resonate now that Twitter's secrets and strategies are out in the open. How Twitter and TechCrunch can get along from here depends on who you ask. Behind the scenes, the two Web sites have been talking about the "right way" to go about releasing the documents, TechCrunch writer Erick Schonfeld said, and the tech Web site will explain that process in the coming days.

The other possibility is a lawsuit. We've discussed how that's certainly not out of the question. For now, let's all take a deep breath and get back to tweeting -- or decrying it as an overhyped, undercooked version of Facebook.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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