Monetizing Twitter for Business

2008-04-10 20:00:00 -0400


We’ve seen mention on a few sites about the potential for Twitter to monetizing their service by charging businesses for mobile interfaces. The case study they quote is a mobile interface for
Harvest.

We think that it’s great that more companies are exploring mobile interfaces like this. Our own small business time tracking system Tempo also
excels at
mobile entry, letting our users record time through Twitter, iPhone, SMS, mobile web, and even desktop mail (much of this functionality is borrowed from
PingMe, a mobile app from birth). While the idea of Twitter as a mobile command line is not new, its always great to see more tools embrace the idea.

So, with a constantly expanding list of services like
Twittercal,
Jott,
Harvest ,
Timer,
RTM,
PingMe,
and
Tempo
all using Twitter, it would seem reasonable for them to monetize these relationships.

That said, even as a company that loves Twitter and already uses it in our apps, the big concern is reliability. Tweets get dropped or delayed more often than we’d like to admit, default rate limits can cause issues, web service calls can cause delays, and the APIs don’t provide scalability to really large numbers of messages. When the service is free these aren’t show stoppers. If charges are involved it’s a different ball-game.

If Twitter were to pursue the monetization strategy the right move would be to provide a dedicated business service. Include guaranteed delivery, improved message processing integrations, dedicated API servers, and quicker processing. This would make the offering very competitive with all of the existing SMS and Text-to-email gateways on the market.

Now that would be worth paying for.


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