Branded Tweetdeck – Great Idea or Waste of Time?

Not In The Way... Not At AllWhile I don’t use third-party Twitter app Tweetdeck myself (I switched to Seesmic Desktop a while back), I noticed today that both Mashable and TechCrunch now have their own branded versions.

It’s basically the same Tweetdeck application but now you can have a dedicated pre-set column for the latest news from both websites, as well as a shiny Mashable or TechCrunch logo on your Tweetdeck skin.

But are they worth changing to?

Personally, I can’t see the major benefit at this time. Yes, it’s great that now both Mashable and TechCrunch have their logo on Tweetdeck’s interface. But will that really expand their brand?

I’m guessing that most users who already have Tweetdeck installed know about both websites. And you can always just set up your own preset column in the standard Tweetdeck to watch the Mashable and TechCrunch feeds.

What about new users? Mashable promotes their version by saying it’s great for new Twitter users to “get up to speed”. I’m not so sure – new Twitter users might be better getting used to Twitter itself first before trying to control a multi-column app.

Comments on both websites are mixed – some think it’s great while others think it’s a waste of time.

I have to say that I’m with the second camp at the minute. It’s always interesting to see brands experiment with ways to get their name into people’s collective. I’m just not sure this is it.

And with some Tweetdeck users still complaining about performance issues (the new iPhone app crashing, memory hog, etc), wouldn’t it be better for Tweetdeck to concentrate on that first?

What about you? What’s your take on Mashable and TechCrunch’s new Tweetdeck app?

Would it make you question their bias when discussing third-party Twitter apps? How can they make real use of it down the line? Will you be downloading one of them?

Creative Commons License photo credit: dprevite

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  1. says

    Agreed – These branded platforms are nothing more than blatant advertisments and the claim to help new users is nothing short of shameless self promotion. I'm personally a fan of for web based browsers and have recently discovered Mixero as an alternative desktop app that I like better than Seesmic or Tweetdeck…

    • says

      Hadn't heard about Mixero, David – I'll be checking it out, cheers!

      (Though it'll have to be damn fine to tempt me away from Seesmic…) 😉

  2. says


    From what I can see this is a waste of time… for me anyway.

    However, maybe from the perspective of the TweetDeck developer, by partnering with these two companies it helps to solidify TweetDeck as the #1 desktop application for twitter, and maybe puts some cash in his pocket.

    Someone has got to finally make some money with twitter besides the “How to get 1000 followers in 10 minutes” people right?

    Personally I am happy as a pig in mud with the non branded version I have now… so I am not going to change anytime soon… unless I can get an iGoByDoc version!

    • says

      I agree there's definitely the need for Twitter and its various third-party developers to make money from the service. Just not sure if the branding of the app in this way is the right approach.

      Instead, say Tweetdeck solidified their app instead and the current issues with it and then really went all out and got people like Jonas Bros., Ashton Kutcher, etc, to brand it?

      I'd guess that would get more attention with the mainstream Twitter users especially, and they're probably the kind of “Ooh, that looks cool” audience that a move like this would appeal to?

      • says

        Ewwe, if I see TweetDeck or any other app get a photo of Jonas Brothers etc on it I may vomit. LOL

        Seriously though, maybe this is the first stage of branded versions of apps. Maybe companies like Subway, Burger King or Coca Cola should work with these applications to embed ads into the application. However, the benefits would have to be really good for one to switch from a non branded version.

        Maybe he best way for a TweetDeck like application is to not offer a vanilla version… and only offer a “pick your poison” version…? I could see that also working well with say Paramount Pictures who are is twitter. The application could update automatically with ads for new movies coming out etc, or maybe have a cool skinning ability for your favorite movies?

        Lastly: What about TweetDeck itself is not solidified any less than any other app already in the marketplace. Every app has it's issues and is updated constantly. Heck, even Twitter itself is still buggy almost every day. Personally I do not see any of the bugs anymore that people were venting re: the deck. It's all in the settings… and to ones personal likings.If whatever you got works, use it is what I say. One size does not fit all… =)

        • says

          It's a strange one to think about. There are definitely opportunities for businesses and developers to make money on Twitter via their brand and product. But is a simple logo and feed the way to do it? Probably not. Although exclusive content (see it before other Twitter users) might work…

          Since I don;t use Tweetdeck anymore, I can only go by Twitter, networks and blog comments re. Tweetdeck (or any other app's) reliability and performance.

          There does seem to be a lot of dismay with Tweetedeck's iPhone app reliability (although I've seen positive reviews too). And yes, the app is only as good as the host platform.

          Though some seem to deal with Twitter's foibles better than others. To each their own… 😉

  3. JoeKikta says


    I think a lot of this depends on the money/time spent. You're right about most users setting up columns themselves, but catching newbies at the beginning of their “addiction” would be a great branding opportunity for them, I think. You hear about all these different tools available and if a site like Mashable says “Hey try out this tool and make it easy to see our updates to keep learning more about Twitter and the rest of Social Media” then I think many would go for it. Will it stick as their tool of choice once they really get going, maybe, maybe not, but the seed is already planted.


    • says

      From that perspective, I can see the benefit. I guess the main question is how many new Twitter users are aware of Mashable and TechCrunch? Or is that the idea – get “tech heads” and social media users to share with their friends?

      Of course, it either Mashable or TechCrunch have put money into Tweetdeck to get a branded version, doesn't this open up a whole new area of disclosure policy on current and future reviews?

      • JoeKikta says

        I think Mashable, at least, is one of the “top tweeters”/retweeted on Twitter so if you do any looking around for people to follow you'll find them.

        I agree, they do have a bit of a quandary with respect to reviews. Hard to maintain your claim of objectivity when you're branding through one of the tools you're reviewing.

        On a slightly separate subject, you mentioned switching to Seesmic. What were your reasons for doing so and are you happy with it?

        • says

          I was tired of the memory suck and crashing of Tweetdeck, and the API call was a bit of a bind.

          I tried Twhirl a little while back and liked it's simplicity, just not the single screen aspect. Then I heard the guys from Twhirl had an Air desktop and thought I'd try it.

          Seems more robust than Tweetdeck with a lot less memory suck on my computer. I also like the multiple accounts (although TD has introduced that now) and for some reason it just seems more user-friendly.

          Plus Loic, Yama and the team at either @askseesmic or @seesmic always seem to be pretty good at responding to issues and user requests – always a bonus. :)

  4. says

    I agree with your post. It's unnecessary and I can't really figure out what the point of these branded TweetDecks are – unless of course you really love the Mashable or TechCrunch logos and want nothing more than to plaster your computer screen with them? When I read about MashDeck this morning, I was a little confused. I'll stick with plain-old TweetDeck, thanks…

  5. says


    Did I read that right that Mashable is offering their branded version of Tweetdeck to new Twitter users because it would help them?

    I'm angered and offended by that one. Not cool at all.

  6. says

    I'm not privy to the options/arrangements TweetDeck offers with its skinned/branded editions, but any potential for meaningful brand enhancement has to be grounded in content, not just logos. Since off-the-shelf TweetDeck can easily be configured to provide columns of tweets from either TechCrunch or Mashable, something more meaningful is necessary — and possible, I think:

    Consider creation of custom “TweetDeck Recommends”-style filtered streams, curated by the sponsor;

    Preconfigured Groups (e.g. of analysts and researchers, in a Forrester-branded edition);

    Tailored trend clouds culled just from users of just the specific edition of TweetDeck, etc., etc.

    If the branding goes beyond cosmetics and helps foster a sense of community-within-the-larger-community of twitter (without imposing any barriers to the greater twitterverse), this kind of “custom editioning” could be useful and effective.

    It may not be fully baked yet, but the potential is there, imho.

    @JimAkin (

    • says

      These are some great suggestions, Jim, and certainly more than feasible. I'm just curious how different it would be from a non-branded app?

      Since most of Mashable and Techcrunch's current Twitter feed is simply RSS feeds from their website, you'd pretty much already have a “Mashable” or “TechCrunch” recommends-type feed with a separate column on your existing set-up.

      The group option is also currently there and works pretty well as is (and can obviously be tailored via the search option too).

      The trending option could be decent if worked well enough and they came up with a way of filtering out the trend hackers.

      I don't know – I just feel all the features that could be promoted for a brand version are already in use, or can be put to use. I'm still struggling to see the benefits at this time.

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views, appreciated.

      • says

        Thanks for the response, Danny.

        Just to elaborate a bit:

        I recognize that the Groups function, for instance, exists in the nonbranded version of TweetDeck, and that I could use it myself to compile a group of, say, all Forrester tweeters. Doing so manually would be fairly onerous, however: (Twitter search doesn't extend to profile content; Forrester folks don't always include “Forrester” in their tweets, and handles such as @jowyang don't proclaim affiliation with the firm.) If Forrester pre-packaged such a Group for me, and updated it with each new version of its custom-branded TweetDeck, it might be worth my while to use it for the added convenience.

        Of course, what I'd really prefer in this example would be a custom Forrester “plug-in” or script for TweetDeck, that I could use to add and receive updated Forrester-curated tweets — without having to make it mutually exclusive with analogously curated content from TechCrunch, Mashable, Apple, or whomever…

        For the record, I'm not a Forrester employee or client; I'm just using them as an example.


        @JimAkin (

        • says

          Ha, wasn't implying you were, Jim (nice disclosure though!) :)

          Your second option could be an incredibly useful add-on or plug-in (for both Forrester and brands in general). Particularly if you're aiming to target these users in an upcoming PR or marcomm strategy/campaign. I can definitely see the benefit there.

          With regards the search problems, I'd be really interested in an app that could integrate into the results. The results from there coupled with a dedicated info stream could be incredibly useful.

  7. everamazed says

    Interesting, my first thought was – Gee, why would Mashable risk whatever journalistic credibility it's writers have built by entering (albeit via a 3d party) a business area they directly review? There would need to be a real $ gain somewhere. I'd guess we are to find out the real reason at a future date. Love the transparency @mashable!

    • says

      I guess it works both ways as well – does Tweetdeck now have to have a disclaimer “As sponsored by Mashable and TechCrunch”? If it's sponsorship, of course…

      I agree, though, I think both publications need to be upfront about how the “deal” came about – otherwise there could be a pretty nasty backlash waiting on them if it later turns out there's more to it than just a “cool co-developed app”.

  8. says

    G'day mate : )

    Setting up a new TweetDeck and customizing it with the same environment on a computer, i.e. groups/fav/bus/ etc. is a lot of work. For this reason, I will not change. Maybe for new users, this could be a benefit. Why not. Same tools, functionality with the added benefit of having a beneficial group already built in… For most new users in general, just figuring out groups and setting them up is not easy. If I was going to – recommend a platform today to a friend, I would recommend Mashable TweetDeck… hmm – that brand is on my brain.

    Having started with TweetDeck first has even deterred me from installing the Seesmic desktop. Why change? I'm still learning how to maximize the features of TweetDeck and TweetDeck has enhanced my Twitter experience greatly. Why learn a completely different platform? I think I represent most users in general. There are many tech saavy people playing with all the new toys that come out, but for common folks, they just want to get something done, like talk to friends, consume information, look for deals, or whatever… certainly not learning how to use every new tool that comes out. Might be a limited viewpoint, but for me, that's how it is…

    • says

      Hey there Mark,

      By all accounts, the MashDeck replaces the existing one – not a good way to please existing users with current set ups.

      The reason I switched to Seesmic is that I was fed up with lack of updates from Tweetdeck, poor reliability and memory hog – killing my computer and restricting program speed is not the way to win me over. 😉

      I can see that it may be beneficial for new users, but I'd still say it's in a limited way. All that's set up is one group – you still have to figure out the rest. And as you mentioned yourself, that's not too easy.

      Twhirl (or something similar) may be a good first third-party app for new users to try, then move on to either Seesmic, Tweetdeck or Mixero.

      Cheers, fella, always a pleasure hearing your thoughts. :)

  9. says

    I see this similiar to “skins” for cellphones and electronic devices. Nice brand promotion, but no real benefit for having it.

    Personally, I'll stick to my regular TweetDeck. I follow @mashable and I also have TechCrunk in my daily reader, so no need to get any “help” from them.

    I've tried Seesmic, I don't know, it's a nice layout; but it's taking me some time to re-establish my lists.

  10. says

    I think this is a fine idea for Mashable, TechCrunch, TweetDeck and users, but will I switch to it? No. If the Twitter accts for Mashable and TechCrunch stop updating links to new stories, I think this branded version would be really intelligent. If I want those stories in my Twitter feed, I would need the branded version of TweetDeck.

    For now, it is an interesting idea that I'm having trouble getting excited about either way.

    • says

      Thing is, though, would any brand be crazy enough to stop using the public feed for a branded one? It'd have to have a heck of a lot of downloads to make that worthwhile, no?

  11. David says

    Personally, I'd go back to using before I used a branded client. Maybe it's my turn to be the Luddite, but I remember when tech blogs were run by enthusiasts, not by businesses trying to screw out every last $$.

    I've pretty much stopped reading both Techcrunch and Mashable because I don't like all the advertising. Neither of them actually have much you can't find elsewhere.

    • says

      Do you think the branded Tweetdeck is led by a dollar sponsorship then, David? Obviously nothing has been said to confirm this, but do you feel it's something that's fairly certain to be announced down the road?

  12. says

    I'm a tweetdeck user at heart and I would never switch to the mashable or techcrunch branded versions – ever. Not that I don't like those sites (I follow mashable more than techcrunch) but I just don't feel the need to have their logo and column in my tweetdeck app.

    And for the “helping new twitter users” part, I have to call bullshit. I see this as a blatant advertisement for both websites and also for tweetdeck (they get the added bonus of these two gigantic websites talking about them more). I've talked to seasoned twitter users who find tweetdeck hard to understand at times and with the added stuff they've done in their new upgrade, it's even worse for them.

  13. says

    I'm a tweetdeck user at heart and I would never switch to the mashable or techcrunch branded versions – ever. Not that I don't like those sites (I follow mashable more than techcrunch) but I just don't feel the need to have their logo and column in my tweetdeck app.

    And for the “helping new twitter users” part, I have to call bullshit. I see this as a blatant advertisement for both websites and also for tweetdeck (they get the added bonus of these two gigantic websites talking about them more). I've talked to seasoned twitter users who find tweetdeck hard to understand at times and with the added stuff they've done in their new upgrade, it's even worse for them.