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Inside Twitter Think

Twitter Founder Gives Some Insights Into Revenue Strategy

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Evan Williams, Founder of TwitterOne of the most interesting Internet phenomenons of late is Twitter. It has become a mainstream brand with Internet junkies, especially marketers and web entrepreneurs. Yet, in kind of a throw-back to old school Internet thought, Twitter has zero ads.

If this was part of the iEntry Network (which owns Twellow.com) or most other Internet media groups there would have been ads from the start. Founder Evan Williams has taken a different approach that must perplex and frustrate his investors. Of course, being different often breeds the biggest successes in business, so I am not passing judgment.

At the Churchill Club Tuesday night Evan said, "Twitter gets daily calls from companies who want to pay for sponsorships, but it plans to avoid making money from ads. Instead, it will figure out a way to charge businesses who use Twitter to talk with customers or sell products. Companies like JetBlue Airways, Dell and Whole Foods Market have used Twitter in these ways."

Dell on Twitter

The problem I see with this approach is that it is not likely to generate large amounts of quick dollars for Twitter. Twitter clearly needs a revenue stream now because of increasing employee and text messaging costs. Initially, Evan mentioned in his talk that Twitter was going to seek another venture round of funding. The current economic climate has apparenly even killed that idea for a company as promising as Twitter, which to me is suprising. Evan stated, "I don’t want to have to raise money in 2009".

Additionally, connecting business marketing strategies into Twitter for a fee, could in many ways be easily duplicated by competitors who could tie in instant messaging, cell phone text messaging, facebook messaging and even Twitter itself. What would Twitter bring to the table for these corporations that AIM or text messaging does not?

Twitter is social media and the social media business model is still being worked on. Just look at Facebook, YouTube and MySpace and none of these major social media properties have a Google like answer yet that makes them the next Internet revenue superstar. However, in the meantime I believe Twitter should incorporate text ads whereever feasible, possibly in a deal with Google. This would give Twitter the revenue it needs now so that it can take the necessary time to create more sophisticated corporate offerings.

Interestingly, Evan Williams makes the case that this approach is currently difficult for them simply because their staff is not business oriented:

"We haven’t studied the business cases much,” he said. “We literally have no business people in the company, so this isn’t an area we’re really focused on.”

Inside Twitter Think


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  • http://www.squidoo.com/cellphonereverselookupnow Ozzy Robin

    I myself am starting a service similar to Twitter. Maybe it really is a good idea to avoid all advertisements and generate revenue from indirect means… Great post!

  • http://ariazink.blogspot.com Aria’z Ink

    I use twitter for marketing my blog, but I’m one person doing a post every 2-3 days… and I tweet about other things besides just marketing my blog. The bigger companies and other sites that are ONLY using twitter to send out ads irritate me, but hey, twitter has user options to block those tweets out… And hey, that the creators of twitter didn’t think of this happening before they launched, well, that’s on them… So, I don’t think twitter should charge the co’s or accept blatant paid advertising. It goes against what twitter is about.

  • http://www.dogarthritiscare.com/rimadyl.php rimadyl

    Of course Twitter is a great marketing Tool especially for wannabes Internet Marketers.It can give you a huge database of customers and keep them informed of your latest news and information.Twitter is very useful indeed.

    • http://lowongan-pekerjaanterbaru.blogspot.com/ lowongan kerja 2009

      Yea that’s a good tool

  • http://www.altwebmedia.com Allen Howard

    I am using twitter for long time and its providing lots of potential customers.

    • http://www.roomfurniturechina.com/Bedroom-Furniture/Art-Gallery/index.html canvas art

      Thus, we have an inspired comic from xkcd, where a hacker writes a virus that will read comments back to a person before they post. The target despairs in the end, coming to a long overdue revelation of his own idiocy.

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Debbie Morgan

    I don’t see the problem with adding a few ads here and there on Twitter. I’m there to socially market my safety and security web site as well as connect with other small business owners. It just makes good business sense to make use of the visibility they’ve worked to create.

  • http://freepuppytrainingtips.blogspot.com/ Puppy Trainig

    Twitter is very helpful in term of visitors and backlink also.

  • Guest

    On Tweeterboard you’ll find not only a list of the top 100 most influential users on Twitter – you can also look up any of almost 2000 users and see who they are conversing with and get some idea how much influence they carry in the Twitter ecosystem.

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  • http://aneka-resep-masakan-indonesia.blogspot.com/ resep masakan

    Thats nice

  • http://car2be.com/ Used Isuzu

    Additionally, connecting business marketing strategies into Twitter for a fee, could in many ways be easily duplicated by competitors who could tie in instant messaging, cell phone text messaging, facebook messaging and even Twitter itself. What would Twitter bring to the table for these corporations that AIM or text messaging does not?

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