Many have derided Twitter for its lack of business strategy and slow pace of monetisation while some have scorned its ambition to make $1 billion in sales by 2014, from just under $140 million in 2011.
But the little blue bird might just be on to something and might be the first digital advertising service to meet with success for following the maxim: don't annoy the users.
Here's Bloombertg's take on the numbers:
From tweets to profit?
As Twitter CEO Dick Costolo prepares to address the annual advertising industry get-together Cannes Lions on Wednesday, just as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg did in 2010, it's worth considering just how different the company's approach is to the assembled masses of traditional marketers and advertisers, based in the mostly unchanged ecosystem of buyers and agencies.
Is he concerned about not making much money? Not as much as ruining the user experience with crappy ads. As he told the Wired Business Conference last month. "The short answer is yes, we are confident we have a hit and this business will grow..."
“But I am never going to optimize short-term revenue at the expense of user experience or long-term goals. If people think we are going about this too cautiously, they can think that and I don’t care.”
Compare that the traditional-turned-digital advertiser's goal of disrupting behaviour and interrupting someone's viewing or reading experience. All those pop-ups, interstitials, takeovers, pre-rolls -- all problems profiled in our recent series What's wrong with online ads? -- make online advertising's goal seem to be let's annoy the users as much as possible.
Twitter is rejecting all of that in favour of harnessing natural behaviour.
You may be horrified by the idea of a sponsored tweet, but they are inocuous. Here's what a Promoted Tweet looks like in the wild, via Twitter's efforts to promote its expanded, content-rich hashtag page for #canneslions.
Twitter is very much not kidding when it says it's confident of building ad revenue - even if Costolo isn't in a hurry. This year the company poached Shailesh Rao, Google's head of display advertising in Asia, to lead its international sales drive.
He tells the FT: "What I like about the way Twitter has approached things in general is we have erred on the side of caution". So when it comes to adding promoted tweets to people's timelines, it's a case of acting softly at first. It's this attitude that gung-ho, mass reach driven brands and advertisers find hard to understand.
Facebook's recent IPO document stated unequivocally that its lack of mobile users and advertising tools was a major concern. Conversely, Twitter is by its very nature mobile - its 140 character limit was and still is designed to mirror an SMS text message. Twitter's early investment in content APIs means there are now several high quality mobile and tablet apps (desktop apps and programmes remain a sore spot for highly addicted users like me).
So it's no surprise that 60 percent of its 140 million users are regular mobile users, with the figure shooting to 80 percent among Twitter-mad UK users, busting their thumbs over #euro2012, #bbcqt and the rest.
It might not be moving fast enough for some. Brands and media buyers will still be ploughing spend into TV, supermarkets will still buy up space in the Daily Mail, fashion buyers will still want space on billboards and specialist B2B brands will still want to appear in specialist media. All of the above will be accelerating the migration of spend to online and mobile - with Twitter remaining an experimental option at best for most.
But maybe Twitter's attitude of building a committed audience and carefully building a commercial strategy that doesn't piss off users with irrelevant, unskippable, flashing ads is one worth taking very seriously.