Back in February of this year, Twitter was ranked as one of the fastest growing websites and had a reported growth of over 1300 percent. It’s rival site, FaceBook, reported only a growth of over 225 percent the same month. While a 225 percent growth sounds great, it’s not even in the same league as Twitter. So with the popularity of Twitter, I am sure it comes to no surprise that there are people who create spoofs or parody sites in an attempt to capture some of the attention and traffic. And so we have a site called Woofer.
Woofer is just like Twitter. The only difference is instead of limiting characters to 140, this spoof site forces users to use 1,400 characters or more before being able to publish. A lot of interest has been generated and Woofer seems to be taking off pretty rapidly. The large reason why is because people are using Twitter to tell their friends about it by sending their own Tweets that point links to their Woofer page.
The spoof site is interesting and actually has some short term potential. In terms of being an online publisher, I always look for ways to accumulate user generated content. As an online publisher, content is worth merit. The more user generated content I have, the less I have to write myself or pay someone else to do. Woofer has quite a bit of value simply because users are volunteering their time to write 1,400 characters of unique content.
With that lies a few problems. The first problem is quality. It didn’t take me long to discover that many people were more curious to see if Woofer actually worked and was real. It seems the trend is that users, including myself, copy content already found online, paste it into the form, and publish into Woofer. There isn’t much value in that for Woofer, simply because the content is already credited to another site. Once the Woofer version of the content gets indexed, it’s a matter of time before Google discovers duplicate content.
The second problem is spam and low quality content. It’s obvious that anything online is going to be subjected to spam. But, with woofer, combating spam could be tricky, especially if Woofer is coming into this with the intention of extracting the content from their database and using it for republishing purposes. Google doesn’t like spam, that is a given. However, one thing that some people often don’t realize is that Google really does want quality. If the content from Woofer isn’t high in quality, excellent rankings will cease to occur.
All in all, Woofer definitely has captured the attention of thousands of users. In my short time of visiting, I discovered that the main time line was updating very quickly. At the time of writing this post, woofer has 1904 users and almost 40 million characters published. The problem I see with their stats is their return rate. So far there’s only 2278 woofs (spoof term for tweets) generated from 1904 users. This equates to 1 woof per 1.2 users. In other words, when someone discovers Woofer, they test it out and leave. Perhaps, that may change over time. What are your thoughts?