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Research: Twitter has yet to grow into valuation

Company is worth significantly less than $1 billion, one company surmises. That's in part because the effectiveness of its possible business plan is still up in the air.

Unsurprisingly, at least one research company agrees that valuing a company at $1.1 billion before it's unveiled a long-term revenue strategy is a little bit premature.

A firm called Next Up Research released a study this week that estimates Twitter's actual value as somewhere between $526 million and $674 million--or somewhere between 47 and 61 percent of what its valuation was in September when Insight Venture Partners, T. Rowe Price, and other investors pumped nearly $100 million into the company..

The positives for Twitter? It's been able to scale to approximately 70 million users while maintaining a single office in San Francisco and about 80 employees--well, sure, but the fail whale does tend to rear its head--and the fact that you can use it almost exclusively as a low-end mobile application means a whole lot of potential for global reach.

Next Up's concerns are pretty predictable: It's not sure how Twitter will keep up its momentum as it prepares to roll out a revenue model. It spelled out a few options that have been tossed around over the past few years--ads on Twitter.com, ads in tweets, charging for access to its application program interface (API), premium accounts, selling data and analytics--but noted that "most revenue generation options available to the company have the potential to alienate at least some of cult-like Twitter's user base."

Regardless, the research firm is guessing that revenues will come. It's projecting $134 million in revenues in 2013, "in an optimistic scenario." Now let's sit back and see how Twitter does it.