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Twitter To Add Money-Making Features 89

dreemteem writes "Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told reporters in Mexico City this week that the company expects to add revenue-generating features to the micro-blogging site in the fourth quarter, according to a report from"
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Twitter To Add Money Making Features

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  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:10AM (#29378135) Journal
    According to TFA:

    After a year or more of speculation by bloggers and financial pundits on ways that Twitter could generate revenue, Stone on Tuesday said the company is building an 'analytics dashboard' designed to help businesses keep track of what is being tweeted about them.

    So this will basically be used to decide when to astroturf.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Since most of Twitter is public (if someone expects privacy about what they post, they shouldn't be there to begin with), it's a good, non-disruptive way of generating money.

      If they start inserting ads, it will not go very well.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AttilaSz ( 707951 )

        They wouldn't gain much with ads.

        About 80% of Twitter's traffic is through their API (3rd party Twitter apps pulling content and rendering on their own), and only 20% through their website. They couldn't really enforce various Twitter clients to display ads when they pull tweets over the API, so Twitter can't really be monetized by ads. (OTOH, some 3rd party Twitter apps are ad-supported and display ads in their UI).

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Ozlanthos ( 1172125 )
      "Brought to you by Carl's Jr."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Not an unreasonable area of interest.

      The company for which I work produces a product which does appeal greatly to hipsters.

      We get tweeted about A LOT.

      In our case, most tweets are of "zomg - these guys rock" nature - but if there was a sudden air of negativity, we'd want to know about it right away.

    • Social networking is getting creepier by the day. Maybe it was never innocent, it was just that I was. If you want to place the way Facebook and Twitter in a proper context, obtain and watch The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis. Essentially, that film finished at the point that politicians fell in love with the focus group; its thesis can easily be extended by the view to cover the new obsession with online social networks.
    • by twistah ( 194990 )

      You have to wonder why this kind of thing can't just be easily implemented using Twitter's API, instead of having to pay them for it.

  • by An anonymous Frank ( 559486 ) <frank@har r y s t o t l> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:11AM (#29378145) Homepage

    140 cents should be enough for everybody.

    • lol, microfinance @ it's best. Bring back the ole office space/superman trick!
    • by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:15AM (#29378973)

      Damn inflation, I remember when you used to be able to give an opinion for 2 cents!

      • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:00PM (#29379619)

        Damn inflation, I remember when you used to be able to give an opinion for 2 cents!

        I take it you've never studied economics. Instead of boring you with lots of technical terminology and theory, I'll restrict my comments to real world transactions and use commonly understood terms.

        In the marketplace of ideas, opinions typically come in two forms. The first is worth 5 cents (as in "Not worth a plug nickel"), and the latter is a premium product valued at 10 cents ("I wish I had a dime for every time ..."). And like in all markets, there are "wholesale" prices and "retail" prices. Those numbers represent the retail prices.

        When exchanging goods or services, there is an underlying cost for each transaction that must be bourne by one or more of the participants. The difference between 10 cents and your two cent idea is, of course eight cents. This is the "markup" or "overhead".

        Put simply, when you manufacture your idea, its wholesale price is two cents, but is sold in the marketplace at either 5 or 10 cents. Small amounts, to be sure, but that doesn't prevent entrepreneurial resellers from making much more, or for those with sufficient legal resources, from securing a patent and making millions!

        My idea (for this post) was similarly worth two cents. That's not to say, however, that in the marketplace of ideas known as Slashdot, the laws of supply and demand don't apply. That means that there's high probability it will end up being worth zero cents. Or to use the English formative of Latin origin, nonsense.

    • Actually, I was thinking more like micro-payments to post longer tweets like 180 and 200 characters, or the additional of a thumbnail graphic. Unlike many of you, I'd love to see Twitter pull this off.

  • I've never understood how Social Networking sites made enough money off of JUST advertising. Maintaining a website once it reaches popularity is a costly venture.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

      I've never understood how Social Networking sites made enough money off of JUST advertising. Maintaining a website once it reaches popularity is a costly venture.

      I think the idea is that you don't have to generate any content. It's "social networking" - so your users generate all their own content by chattering away at eachother.

      You need to supply bandwidth/servers/storage/whatever, but not content.

      I still find it hard to believe that anyone can make enough money from advertising along to support something the size of these sites...

      • I still find it hard to believe that anyone can make enough money from advertising along to support something the size of these sites...

        Actually the advertising revenue will largely go up in proportion to the size so basically the more muppets you have on your social networking site the more adverts you can deliver and the more money you can make.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 )
      Network television is supported by advertising alone, and their costs are far, far higher than the cost to run a social networking site. Yes, advertising revenue online is peanuts compared to TV advertising revenue, but the costs are also peanuts in comparison. On the other hand, the reason online sites are always looking for new ways to insert advertising in the user experience is because, although they might make enough to be profitable, they still aren't raking in "buy your own country" money.
      • Yeah, but Network Television has advertising companies BIDDING to get their commercials on the air, there isn't never not something on. Website Advertising is generally done on a "per-click basis".

        As in, I have to go, find a package of adverts from a company whom I think are most similar or appealing to my website. I have to sign up for their deal, and they'll let me put those banners on my page, and for every visitor that clicks on an ad I get a penny.

        The more annoying ones (like those emoticons) will give

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by owlnation ( 858981 )

        "On the other hand, the reason online sites are always looking for new ways to insert advertising in the user experience is because, although they might make enough to be profitable, they still aren't raking in "buy your own country" money."

        Google is.

        And this makes me wonder what the disconnect is. Since it's correct that Network television has much higher costs than any website, and yet in many cases has fewer advertising eyes than major websites. (Especially when you consider tivo and people wanderin

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by petermgreen ( 876956 )

          One issue is exclusivity.

          A well produced tv advert on a major channel conveys a message of "we are a big stable company who can afford to make a good quality advert and buy expensive TV time to show it". That message is somewhat reassuring to customers. Not saying big companies are angels but at least there is likely to be someone left to complain to/sue when your product doesn't turn up or turns out to be faulty.

          Whereas with internet advertising adverts from reputable firms are mixed in with adverts from c

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Bertie ( 87778 )

          I work in the business, and you're right, budgets for TV advertising are generally out of all proportion to the results they generate. It's one of the big frustrations of producing advertising-related websites - clients are not only stingy with the budgets, but they want chapter and verse on exactly what they're getting for their money. Whereas with TV, they'll piss millions up the wall on bloated follies just because they like the concept. If a website fails (and let's face it, most do), you'll have a h

        • web advertising -- should someone take the time to do it in a contextual, non-invasive and entertaining way

          It's still advertising, so if it's not invasive it's probably not working.

          It doesn't matter how much marketing/advertising people go on about creativity and producing witty entertainment, the fact is that the most effective adverts are straightforward "buy our soap powder" ads.

          Recently in the UK for instance, everyone loved the gorilla drumming along to Phil Collins, but no-one remembers what th

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhfry ( 829244 )

      They don't.

      The way I see it, a typical social networking site LOSES money.

      1. get funded and become popular
      2. make a lot of noise so everyone knows about you to attract tons of investment money.
      3. sell to a larger company at inflated values... PROFIT
      4. larger company tries to monetize and realizes that they wasted money.
      5. site becomes so-last-year and dies a slow, painful death.

      What I expect is that they are boosting their "perceived" value in hopes that they can get an inflated offer to buy them out. That

  • by SlothDead ( 1251206 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:23AM (#29378311)
    So, the article says that they'll offer a "dashboard" which companies can use to see what users are twittering about them. How is this different from just putting a company name into the search box?

    Also, the free Twitter API already allows for interesting data mining. For example, this little site monitors the popularity of the political parties in Germany: Wahlgetwitter []. The users just write #Piratenpartei+ or #CDU- to show which party they like or not.

    The worst thing this announcement could mean is that they'll charge for the API or exclude businesses from the search function.
    • by Deag ( 250823 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:31AM (#29378407)

      The article didn't seem to mention it, but from what I have seen elsewhere, not all information that twitter has is available with the free api. It could be stuff like who is actually reading the tweets (rather that just followers), where they are, where the people tweeting about you are, standard analytic stuff that business really like to know.

      I can see this being quite popular and making plenty of money for them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by lwsimon ( 724555 )

        Having written some stuff in Python that interacts with the Twitter API, there is more to it than the free stuff. They give special access levels to people with cool apps and things - it would make sense to charge businesses to access in-depth analytic stuff, or prevent them from getting it via the API entirely and build your own suite.

      • by neoform ( 551705 )

        where they are, where the people tweeting about you are

        Yes, because I totally want people to know where I am, so when I'm out of the house, burglars can tweet me to tell me they're robbing me, and prove to me that they're in my house..

    • There could be features to automatically count positive tweets and negative tweets said about the company you've got the dashboard running for, as well as some demographical information.

  • commercial suicide
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Yes. Finally, it's Twitter's turn to commit ritual suicide. Of all the social networking sites, they seem to me to be the most annoying. And the most useless.

      • ...And the most useless.

        I consider Twitter to be the *only* useful social networking site. It's certainly the only one I have any use for, and it's really, really useful.

        I have a real need to get information out to a specific set of people, and they have a real desire to get that information instantly. To whit: I run a sports team, and there are regular announcements, schedule changes, special practices, entry deadlines, and other items that need to be pushed out to the team members, parents, etc. By using Twitter, they can ch

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Sounds like an excellent use for an RSS feed, which I can receive on the web, SMS, or on a mobile client. Oh, and the RSS headline is associated with something more substantial than 140 characters (which can ALSO be automatically retrieved, though perhaps not by text message).

          Twitter is just a limited me too version of RSS with a stupid name.

          • So let me get this straight:

            1. You think Twitter is a stupid name, but "RSS" is okay.
            2. You think soccer moms will know what an RSS feed is.
            3. You think that even if they know what to do with an RSS feed, that they will be able to hook it up to SMS or their IM client.
            4. You don't see the use for a simple interface to do all of this so easily that it works for 10 year olds and their grandparents.
            5. You think that your team members, half of whom are already on Twitter, will appreciate being given a hodgepodge of other tech
            • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

              Yeah, @ceoyoyo #fail is awfully intuitive for the soccer moms.

              All of your points are simply fairly easily implemented interface details. I fully agree with you - Twitter is a reasonably easy to use, proprietary interface, but that's all. So when they decide to "monetize" it by shoving ads in people's faces, everyone will move on to something else and Facebook will thank their lucky stars their half billion dollar bid got turned down.

        • Since you included "by a web bookmark that they are in the habit of checking", it seems to me like at least for that portion of the group, email is just as useful. For the rest, I *guess* using twitter is easier because they can be lazy and not have to check email (oh it's soooo hard to check email).

          (I use twitter, only because I have a company paid phone and signed up for tweets from a few pro poker players & mythbusters guys out of curiousity.. I'm already tiring of it after a few weeks and may at t

    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      It doesn't actually sound like it'll have any impact on the success of the site. They're not proposing something obviously stupid like charging for accounts, or charging to post or read. They're just planning to sell some data-analysis services to companies that want to buy them. Those services might or might not be useful, but I don't see how it'll affect the normal operation of the site.

  • then I guess this one has been in the cooker all along
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:41AM (#29378529)
    Allow people to pay money to deliver electrical shocks to celebrities every time they "tweet" something stupid. They could make millions in a matter of minutes.
    • Allow people to pay money to deliver electrical shocks to celebrities every time they "tweet" something stupid. They could make millions in a matter of minutes.

      ...and you'd be shocking annoying celebrities. Double bonus!

  • Super Disco, Disco Breakin'!

  • Allow messages over 140 characters, but charge $0.05 for them. They may still want to limit the size to avoid people writing novels, but they can set a limit for paid messages at 500 chars or so.
    • by lwsimon ( 724555 )

      Twitter's 140 character limit is so they'll fit inside the basic SMS protocol. I don't seem them abandoning this, as portability and the ability to use it on many platforms is one of the reason they are so successful.

    • The SMS mechanism doesn't work well with that. It's not an artificial limit on their part.
  • "Just last spring, Stone told Computerworld that since the company has plenty of venture capital funds available, there's no rush to create a business plan focused on generating profits. "

    Sounds like a great time to launch an IPO!
  • Am i late for the Twitter bashing thread? i want to stay trendy, but i can't jump on someone else's train if it's left the station.

    Um. Twitter is just persistent IRC. It's feeding teen narcissism. 140 characters? Are they kidding? Twitter? More like shitter!

    Am i doing this right?

  • The bubble is complete!

    The dotcom bubble 2.0 is FINALLY complete!

    Now we just need to wait for all those midlife-crisis managers rushing to invest in it...

    P.S.: I guess it's the Internet's natural cycle of selection, weeding out the idiots. ;)

  • by r_jensen11 ( 598210 ) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @01:25PM (#29380455)

    Twitter to add money-making features? Twitter is a marketing tool which happens to be abused by teenagers who want the world to know when they're taking a dump and what kind of stool samples they've produced. It's an RSS on steroids. This story is basically saying Steinway & Sons to Add Music Making Features

  • The world is round, and we are in an economic crisis.

    How is this news how Twitter is still pretending to be the dot com boom, where you can operate for a few years with ZERO revenue. Adoption rates, and usefullness are going down quickly with no way to monetize without breaking core functionality. Jumping the shark in t minus 4 months.

    Now if he said how they plan to monetize that would be news, it is no secret they need to start making money and fast, the investors must be getting really really pi
  • I use it for promotion uses only have 1100+ followers (most just bots) cant get more than 2000 following due to restrictions until I get more followers. Im not sure if it really works at all, I havent seen any increase in website traffic nor forum registration. Hell my forums allow guests to post and play the arcade without registering still no increase due to twitter lol. Upside is its free, I have a bot/app (w/e twitter calls it) that allows me to spam out msgs to promote my site (or say w/e u like) ever

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