Here we go again will the astronomical valuations. This time it's Twitter, which blogger Robert Scoble pegs at "probably" $5 billion to $10 billion. Earlier this year, the micro-blogging service was valued at what was then called a "staggering" $250 million.
No, Scoble is not an accredited analyst, and his vision for the Web is arguably (if understandably) quixotic, but his analysis is highly regarded industrywide.
Also, the funny thing about so many seemingly exorbitant valuations is how they can look modest in retrospect. Facebook, for instance, was widely thought to have missed the boat after it politely rebuffed Yahoo's offer to buy the social network for $1 billion in 2007. (This summer, Facebook turned down a terms sheet for a new venture round that valued the company at $8 billion.)
Still, Scoble is basing his valuation on some pretty bold claims. Firstly, he says Twitter has effectively "taken over the business world," which he suggests should be very worrying for companies like Google, Yelp, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Whatever that means exactly, and whatever Twitter's real value to the business world is, it's hard to believe that such a service couldn't be provided by, say, Facebook.
But no, says Scoble, because while, "Facebook wants into this market (and so do others) ... they aren't understanding what makes Twitter attractive to businesses." For one, he points out Facebook doesn't yet offer businesses a way to easily track mentions of their name and their brands -- though that doesn't seem like too tough a nut to crack.
Oh, and despite relentless praise from Oprah, Shaq, and manifold celebrities, musicians, various thought leaders, and captains of industry, Scoble actually believes that "Twitter is underhyped." He might be alone in that.