Monday, April 6, 2009

How is Twitter Making Money?

I've always wondered how Twitter is going to monetize. Twitter is now being used everywhere by a lot of people from Restaurant owners, to celebrities to politicians. Some people; like Obama have many thousands of followers...many of whom use SMS(text messaging) to receive their Tweets. As a technologist, I know sending SMS messages costs anywhere from .5 to 2 cents per SMS. When you add this up among the millions of messages sent...this adds up to an astronomical number. Not to mention the bandwidth, infrastructure and employee costs of running the service - all with no apparent revenue model.

One guess is they will be using their website to draw advertising and possibly piggy back on the tweets...but, the 140 character limit really makes marketing very hard to fit with the tweet.

Well, today I found the answer: They are selling a co-branded device with Motorolla called the "Wingman." It comes with a subscription service for 2 years at beween $29 to $39/m. The Wingman is pretty cool. It has real time connections with other tweets so you can see where other people talking about the topic you're interested, and where they are tweeting from (if they are tweeting from the Wingman).

My concern is, why would I want to carry yet ANOTHER device when I have an iphone with cool iphone apps? Why wouldn't someone just build a cool iPhone app to stream Tweets that link into the Twitter API? I use Twitterific on my iTouch to read my Tweets when I am not at my computer.

You can read more about the Wingman by going to Wired:


George Tran
Author of "The Social Marketing Manifesto"
Success Strategies for Small Businesses using Social Media

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