Twitter looks at ways to make money

20 May 2009

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the microblogging website, is developing a variety of tools for use by companies and brands as it seeks to establish a means of generating revenue, but is still not considering adopting an advertiser-funded approach, according to its co-founder, Biz Stone.

It has been argued that Twitter's rapidly-growing popularity is part of a broader trend towards the "real time internet", and the social network could thus look to offer up-to-the-minute information to companies regarding the current "buzz" on its pages.

Other services the company is planning to introduce, Stone said, include "lightweight analytics" and an official directory of Twitter's corporate users.

Santosh Jayaram, the site's vp of business operations, also stated that the social media service is looking to serve local businesses, which he argued were "the long tail that never has been decently explored."

Having held discussions with a number of mobile phone networks to ensure Twitter is accessible via most handsets, the two-year-old firm could also enter deals that would see it split revenues with carriers.

However, Stone argued there were "a few reasons why we're not pursuing advertising", including the fact that "it's just not quite as interesting to us" as some of the other options available.

Further factors that contributed to this decision include the fact that ads may not prove popular among users of the social media site.

Equally, the site's co-founder admitted there are "no people at Twitter who know anything about advertising or work in advertising" meaning it doesn't have anyone "to make or take those calls."

Facebook is also facing the challenge of monetising its portal, with AdAge estimating its total revenues will reach $500 million (€367m; £323m) this year, amounting to just $2.50 per user.

However, this figure could actually be surpassed by the total sales enjoyed by companies that are currently developing applications for use on the site.

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by WARC staff