Twitter Cofounder Takes Stance Against Advertising

    May 21, 2009

As people talk about what they’re having for lunch, their favorite show’s season finale, and LOLcats, other Twitter users shouldn’t have to worry about seeing ads for Subway, "Lost," and Friskies anytime soon.  Twitter cofounder Biz Stone recently distanced himself from the idea of turning to ads for revenue. 

Biz Stone

Twitter will presumably need to adopt a business model at some point, of course, and Stone didn’t rule out the idea of letting marketers take a run at the site.  But he did tell Alexei Oreskovic, "There are no people at Twitter who know anything about advertising or work in advertising.  So we don’t have anyone there to make or take those calls."

And a quick look at Twitter’s "Open Positions" list reveals that the company isn’t trying to hire any advertising specialists right now, either.

Twitter users may have themselves (or at least, people who were formerly like themselves) to thank for these facts.  Last month, a Nielsen report pointed out that only about 40 percent of Twitter users stick around from any given month to the next.  Execs probably don’t want to give people any more reasons to leave.

In fact, cofounder Jack Dorsey told Mark Milian yesterday, "It’s a hard problem to solve.  And the company is . . . just on the edge of doing something about it."

So what might Twitter do for revenue, then?  Well, although any number of different hints have been tossed out in the past, Stone "said on Monday that the company is developing various add-on tools and services for the businesses and professional users of Twitter, which could create a revenue stream for the company," according to Oreskovic. 

Also, "He said Twitter plans to introduce some of these tools by year end."

UPDATE: Stone has now written a post on the official Twitter Blog.  Perhaps the most salient parts: "[T]o say we are philosophically opposed to any and all advertising is incorrect. . . .  The idea of taking money to run traditional banner ads on has always been low on our list of interesting ways to generate revenue.  However, facilitating connections between businesses and individuals in meaningful and relevant ways is compelling.  We’re going to leave the door open for exploration in this area."