Thursday, March 26, 2009

Firms Seek Profit in Twitter's Chatter

The Wall Street Journal published today that Twitter still is looking for a business model, because it has attracted millions of users, but its fast growth hasn't translated into significant revenue. The speculation has intensified about whether the service can be profitable.

According the news, other companies are trying to profit from Twitter's popularity by experimenting with business models that incorporate parts of the free messaging service. Some enterprising users have even found ways to earn money by tweeting product endorsements, and some companies are paying users for the right to sell ads in their tweets.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone says Twitter is watching the outside initiatives closely as it prepares to launch its own fee-based services this year, but doesn't view them as competition. He also says Twitter recently hired a product manager to oversee the development of commercial accounts. The accounts would offer users more features in exchange for a fee, but Twitter hasn't set a launch date for them.

Twitter will get a cut of one outside business that sprang up this week, a Web site called ExecTweets. The site, launched by online advertising network Federated Media and sponsored by Microsoft, displays tweets from business executives.

Fred Wilson, a Twitter investor and board member, says Twitter will make money by "following the money," or building on the ways that others are developing businesses based on the service.

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