A fair number of quality posts have gone up lately as to how Twitter can go about capitalizing on its untapped cash potential. With another $20M in the bank, it’s fair to say Twitter will not suffer for fresh injections of capital on demand – but a stated monetization policy would be a relief and VC confidence builder.
Joe Hall over at Marketing Pilgrim has an excellent summary post, along with some of his own ideas, on how Twitter can become a cash cow. Briefly, these include reference to Andy Beal’s thoughts on a business class subscription model, URL control potential, and Nate’s thought on Twitter becoming a payment gateway, similar to PayPal.
Mules see the potential in any or all of that, but there are a few other stand-outs. Apologies to others who have presumably thought of similar things first.
1. Offer paid advertising on a “tweet” scale. Twitter can reach 6m people and counting, and surely knows, or could know, a great deal about their interests. Behavioral targeting is a staple of Google’s advertising platform – it easily could be for Twitter. Advertisers would surely pay a few cents/tweet to reach qualified recipients, and filters would be relatively easy to implement and use.
2. Offer a paid anti-advertising subscription to ad recipients. Don’t want to get unsolicited advertising in your Twitter timeline? Pay a nominal fee for a premium subscription.
3. Are you a rock star on Twitter and elsewhere? Offer a pay-to-follow, splitting proceeds with the rock star and Twitter. This is a barrier to entry; as such, the idea potentially violates the growth and networking that has carried Twitter to where it is today… but only a handful of the bigger names would bother. It may also encourage them to dispense more and higher quality information – no authority, no paying followers.
4. Limit Tweets, pay for more. This could break into raw Twitter updates, or could apply only to linking, the spam from which is fast becoming a signal that Twitter may need to consider avoiding the spam-house territory other august social networks have entered.
5. Verification mini-charge per account. This would bring in moderate revenues, but a one-time hit for a negligible fee would get payment information on file (opening other options such as one-click purchasing), and further discourages the reams of throwaway spam accounts and impersonation.
6. Enter to win micro-payment contests. There would be caution in creating a gambling house out of Twitter, but formally offering either tools or Twitter-led auctions, paid-entry giveaways, and other forms of promotions could bump the bottom line. If it can be done without backlash from Google, many a sponsor would toss big prizes in return for a quiet dofollow link from Twitter’s vast reserves of link juice.
There’s a mule perspective…
What would you suggest Twitter do to monetize?