Monday, April 6, 2009

6 Ways To Monetize Twitter

Twitter as social media needs to come up with a business model
Twitter has been around since March 2006 and has been growing ever since at an exponential rate. However, Twitter does not have a revenue model and has been running on venture funding from various Venture Partners. In the long run, the moment investors stop funding it, Twitter may not be able to sustain its unprofitable business.

Users on Twitter have figured ways to make money (Magpie, Twittad etc.). There are non-profits who raise funds using twitter.

In a hilarious interview, Twitter Founder Biz Stone stated that Twitter is focused on creating value right now and not business model. It makes a lot of sense considering that there is a lot Twitter can incorporate to increase the value and experience. But being around for over 3 years, it is high time that they start thinking about how to sustain their business. In fact, they are. Evan Williams, Twitter's CEO and co-founder tells The New York Times:

"If I say any particular idea, it gets made too much of," he said. "We think Twitter will make money. I think it will take some time to figure it out."

I will still try and put in few of my ideas to monetize Twitter.

Tweet Words

           On the same lines as Google's Ad Words, Twitter can implement "Tweet Words" (I could not come up with a better name ...) where advertisers can send ads using DM or as a tweet based on keywords that the advertiser is interested in. The number of such tweets or messages will be consciously limited by the advertisers for the fear of spamming the users. This can also be done by targeting user's home stream page as banner ads. One other option is also to change the service to include ads and then create an Ad Free service which can be a paid one. 

Power Accounts

           Twitter sets API usage limit and there are Tweeple who want to use more that what is allowed. Here, Twitter has the option of creating a paid model where users/brands can pay and use Twitter API extensively without limitations. I also see a lot of users following more than 10,000 people. These users may be using search/filters to read the content that they are interested in, but when Twitter limits the "following" count to 2000, there is money lying there for Twitter to reap. For any person who wants to follow more than 2000, Twitter may charge them with a nominal amount and there are enough users/brands ready to utilize this opportunity. 

Corporate Accounts

           There are a lot of brands/corporates (Dell, Accenture, Google, Yahoo, Capgemini and many more ...) who tweet and increase their brand value. They very well can do it by using their own blog or fan pages on Facebook, but Twitter is a great source for them to get traffic and value. A partnership model can be setup with these corporates in a way that both parties can benefit. Lets say, Twitter can provide analytics facility for these corporate accounts helping them track where the traffic is coming from and probably also helping them on trend analysis. 

Get "Suggested"

            Twitter has "suggested friends" feature is largely the source of followers for high profile accounts. If there is a paid model to get into the list of suggested friends, small/large brands will always want to utilize to reap benefits and I am compelled to think that these brands would not mind paying for it. 


             ExecTweets is a sponsored site featuring feeds from "top business executives". On the similar lines, Twitter can create specialized communities for users to participate by paying a nominal fees. This, however, will have to be different from the regular membership that every user has. 


             Not the greatest of ideas, but Twitter can come out with goodies. What I mean by this is, convert Twitter Bird and Fail Whale into commercial commodities that can be sold and I am pretty sure, they can make some quick bucks out of it. 

Twitter has to come out with a comprehensive business plan. Microblogging is relatively young and without a good business model, Twitter may not survive to become as big as Evan Williams claims it to become.

Do follow me on Twitter @knkartha ...

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