TwitBin – How to hit the next plateau?

May 10, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Product: is a firefox tool that allows people to monitor
their twitter messages in their sidebar without having to visit The tool also allows you to post to twitter as well,
giving you constant, immediate access to either your twitter
discussions stream or the public stream.

twitbin logo

Problem: We’ve got a core set of users who’ve adopted it early on, but
we want to break past the super-techy early adopter set, and reach the
more mainstream twitter users. Second issue, how do we improve this,
make it reach beyond just twitter?

Fast Facts: 3,000 users have installed it, 950,000 minutes have been
logged in the sidebar (probably hitting a million by the time you read
this), and we’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback.

twitbin screenshot

Open Q: So what I am looking for help from you is how you think we
should spread this even more? Virally? Contests? Blog more? We want to
hit 5,000 or 10,000 users and we want to do it fast.

Prize: $25 iTunes gift certificate to best comment.

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19 responses to “TwitBin – How to hit the next plateau?

  1. Patrick Reply

    I don’t think it is a question of getting your name out there, the userbase who would use this probably are plugged in enough to have heard of it, and just weren’t drawn to it.

    Where as on the surface it looks like your tool is fantastic and leaps to the rescue of every Twitter user, the fact is that your user base is only a fraction of the whole. Because:
    1) It is only usable by Twitter users who also use Firefox
    2) It is only needed by people who heavily use Twitter.

    So you’re cutting down to a much smaller slice of Twitter’s user base than it’s whole. You have to sell them on the usefulness of keeping it on the sidebar of their screen. Why should they do this rather than occasionally (or frequently) check the Twitter home page? Why should they give up the screen space to a sidebar? How can you reach people who use IE or Opera?

  2. engtech Reply

    #1: You aren’t on the Firefox extensions page. Submit it.

    #2: Create a user account called and automatically add that to the friends list of anyone who uses twitbin. Put status updates on it.

    #3: Your Digg got buried. Create a copywritten landing page ( that explains EXACTLY the benefits of using Twitbin over the web page or over a desktop application. Then submit it to Digg, and post the digg url to everyone who is a friend on Twitbin.

    #4: The “share on social networks” buttons on your main page aren’t noticable at all.

    #5: Re-work the ad-copy on your landing page (so important I’m listing it twice). I’ve visited it before but never installed your extension because I didn’t see why I would need it when I can already use Twitter from within Firefox at That’s what you’re up against. Why should I use Twitbin in my browser instead of the Twitter webpage? What’s your added value? Sell me.

    #6: Listing all your competitors on your landing page isn’t a good idea.

    #7: Get a copy of Make It Stick and learn the principles of SUCCESs (simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story-containing) for selling an idea.

    #8: Your current ad copy is marketing itself to Twitterholics instead of casual users. To hit 10,000 appeal to casual users as well.

  3. engtech Reply

    re: YouTube

    Do a demo video of Twitbin in action on YouTube.

    This is one of the best product demo videos I’ve seen that lead to getting TechCrunched:

    You’re also aiming for a small market of people who ALREADY use Twitter. There’s *far* more people who don’t know what the hell Twitter is. Aim for them, too.

  4. Alex Reply

    One problem is that you are locked into one service (twitter). What happens when they come out with a similar tool/service? You’re also only on one browser.

    My recommendation is that you need to add support for other services (IM? Other twitter-like apps? Your own internal messaging?) and also to branch out away from Firefox– you need an IE extension or toolbar as well.

    You also need to realize that Firefox/Twitter users ARE geeky early adopters. If you really want to break away from those users, you’ll need to think about other ways of expanding the service beyond what you’re offering now.

  5. marc Reply

    I think we saw the biggest jump in usage at SXSW. What other events can twitter attend/sponsor and show off their utility? Vegas? Big groups of people who are attending conferences during the day now have the ability to connect at night.

    Partner with the large convention outfits to offer the service to their conference attendees. You could go vertical and target the thought-leaders (who are attending these shows) to be your ambassadors of the service to others.

  6. Joe Reply

    Become a teacher. Inform people what twitbin does in a simple easy way. See previous posts.

    In terms of developing the product, could you incorporate your friends facebook feeds, myspace comment columns, your friends links, friends diggs… all in one side bar, on all the time, with filtering. Perhaps tabs that take you from one service to another and a tab that contains the aggregate data?

  7. j.d.a. Reply

    When someone posts from Twitterrific the end of the post always says “from Twitterriffic” – Twitbin just says “from the web.” Get that last bit in and people on the site will learn about you without having to read TechCrunch.

    And let me see past the 20 most recent updates. I’m not on Twitter all the time, and when I log in I want to see what I missed. If you can’t show me that I’m going to the site, and when I’m there I might as well use it to update instead of Twitbin.

  8. Noah Mittman Reply

    I agree with j.d.a — I don’t understand why third-party clients don’t do this BY DEFAULT. Every user post becomes a way of surfacing that the client exists.

  9. Noah Mittman Reply

    To Jason’s point, specialize a bit. Find a few use cases and optimize for them. Just listing the users out in the standard API way doesn’t differentiate you enough. Keep that for the average user, but how about rolling up user’s posts or having a friends-list view of posts? Or visualizing the reply-chain better? For example, you have a TwitThis button right on the Twitbin page — but seeing Twitbin is a browser extension, why doesn’t it have this kind of feature built-in?

  10. udandi Reply

    I agree with Jason, sell me! because it is a tie-in to another product, you have double the work to sell me on twitter and your tool because maybe I just don’t “get” twitter.

    Keep in mind that not everyone is on the up and up of new technology, though they may want to be. Some are intimidated by new technology (because there’s so much to learn, digest and use) that they shutdown when they can’t wrap their head around it the first time. They might want to understand, but it is going to take a greater learning curve than they want to invest so they miss out and you miss out having them as a using and subsequent promoter of your product/service.

    It’s a total defeat to finally get up to speed on some new technology only to have a geek shoot you down saying that’s so 3 months ago!

    Good luck!

  11. Brian Breslin Reply

    Hey everyone
    in response to the threading, twitter itself doesn’t create relationships between the posts that way.
    Second, regarding twitterific, they have a special exclusive deal with twitter, we’ve inquired, but haven’t heard back. I agree that would be a monster way to increase exposure.

  12. Brian Breslin Reply

    So the winner of the gift certificate is Engtech. why? because his answer was the one that offered up the most concrete ideas for marketing any product, not just ours.

    a few points: we’re adding the extension this weekend to the firefox site, we’re also building an IE7 version which will be ready next week (you heard it here first 😉 ). We are also working on improving the communication stream, hopefully making it more customizable

    so Engtech, send me your email and you will have $25 of credit for iTunes or any other site you’d like. Let me know. brian[at]

  13. Paul Reply

    This an’t too tough. Think… what does Winamp, Apple Shuffle and WordPress have in common? (i might not be good at giving example, wtf… it’s worth a shot anyhow)

    They all allow users to get involved (you done that) and you allow your users to customize. (this you haven’t explore)

    One area you could explore is to allow users to customize a theme for their twitbin. Some of us are U2 fans, while others prefers classical. Allow us to customize it to suit our style.

    Surely that will help you add a couple of thousand users.

    * sent me e $25 iTunes gift certificate, i will drop in a couple more * 😛