Twitter’s Cashtags: a clone and a broken promise?

If you’re into the stock market and Twitter, then you’re probably stoked about the fact that you can now click on stock market ticker symbols.

Except you’ve actually been able to do it for a while now. And the third-party company that’s provided the service until now StockTwits isn’t exactly thrilled with the social network’s latest feature.

In fact, CEO and founder Howard Lizden has gone as far as accusing Twitter of “hijacking” his company’s product. In an official blog post, Lizden expresses doubts that Twitter will be able to use the product properly. That could easily be written off as sour grapes. Lizden seems fairly bitter about the fact that Twitter went back on an earlier promise that it had no interest in playing in his field. But look at what he says in the post:

It’s interesting that Twitter has hijacked our creation of $TICKER ie. $AAPL. It only took four years to ‘fill’ this hole, though a few months back they told me in a detailed email it was not a hole they wanted to fill.

You can hijack a plane but it does not mean you know how to fly it.

Twitter is about advertising dollars. They have US$1-billion of venture money on the line. Lots of pressures I am not interested in.

Go check out $HIT or $WAG (walgreen’s) on Twitter search or thousands of other features around curation that we have thought about for 4 years and implemented.

I wonder how well that will do for $FXCM (buying ads on twitter) converting hits from rappers into FOREX accounts.

CNN Money, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail, Reuters, Bing, MSN trust Stocktwits with many more partners in the works. If you send a message from Stocktwits it is seen on these sites and their ticker pages.

I am disappointed of course that Twitter is hijacking our idea and time (will only confuse the masses), but Stocktwits moved beyond that basic functionality 4 years ago. In a dirty way, it’s the ultimate compliment so we will take it as such for the moment and keep rolling out functionality that makes us the best real-time communication platform for people that love stocks and markets.

Stocktwits provides context, curation and community.

According to The Next Web, the move comes just a week after Lizden decided to sell his stake in Twitter.

Had this happened in the aftermath of his blogpost it would’ve been easy to write off Lizden’s actions as being guided completely by emotion. As things stand however, it’s evident that he doesn’t agree with the social network’s business strategy.

That could be why StockTwits has been exploring other avenues for a while now. For example it’s now available on Chartly as well as the ability to embed some functions on blogging platforms and websites.

For Twitter, the move seems to be another step toward becoming a vehicle for search and discovery. Whether that comes at the cost of the 140-character-or-less commentary that made it so popular in the first place remains to be seen.



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