A few lucky technology companies seem to become “the next big thing” overnight. Remember when you were thinking that “tweet” was a stupid verb, and then the month after that, you had to add a “share on Twitter” button to your home page? Companies that can quickly capitalize on the next big thing piggyback off of the original prodigy’s success and even become buzz-worthy in their own right.

Kred Logo

You’ve probably heard of Kred. It calculates people’s online “influence scores,” primarily based on data from Twitter. It’s been quite successful because it makes Twitter (Everyone’s using it! But what do I do with that?) useful to advertisers and marketing departments. I bet a lot of startups wish they had been able to capitalize on Twitter’s success the way Kred did. However, it’s a bit of a one-trick pony. Kred needs Twitter (plus a few other sites like Facebook and LinkedIn) in order for Kred to be Kred.

And right now Kred’s parent company PeopleBrowsr is in the middle of a nasty legal battle with Twitter over getting access to the data. It used to have a one-on-one contract with Twitter to gain access to its data, and Twitter just decided to let that contract expire.

No matter which way the lawsuit is resolved, I’m sure quite a few people over at Kred are looking at each other nervously.

It didn’t have to be a legal battle either – if Twitter ever went the way of MySpace, or was hit by a crippling cyber attack, or all its US servers went down because of coinciding hurricanes on the east coast and earthquakes on the west – Kred would be just as out of luck. Technology companies can spring up quickly and fade just as fast.

If your business relies heavily on just one other business, make sure you always have a Plan B.

By Sharon Campbell