Twitter: This Space For Rent?

2008-04-14 20:00:00 -0400

Pay close attention – we’re about to hand over an idea that could make Twitter…(drum roll, please)…ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

We saw this today on Tech Crunch (which has since been refuted):

Occasional ads in the Twitter timeline … seems like the only real way to monetize Twitter, aside for premium subscriptions.

It’s an interesting idea. We have long thought that the destined revenue model for Twitter is a new means of advertising where miniature ads will be injected at the end of Tweets.

Your messages on Twitter are restricted to 140 characters. This leaves 20 extra spaces, possibly a lot more with short tweets, before hitting the SMS limit of 160 characters. That reserve is perfect for advertising. We’ve been calling it meme-vertising and we’ve been doing it with our own service PingMe for well over a year – we use it to advertise our own services.

Here’s how it works – we reserve 30 characters in every message that goes out, just enough space to jam a quick meme or ad in there. Anything goes, from Keep Time with to “Real men of genius,” if Budweiser decided to buy a block of impressions.

Unconvinced? Twitter’s ad space would be virtually unbounded because the impressions are based on relationships, not page views. Consider that when Michael Arrington sends out one tweet alone, it could provide 13,104 impressions. In the end someone has to pay for a service, especially given the usurious cost of sending and receiving SMS messaging, and nothing stands a better chance of getting Twitter into the black than this virtually umlimited adspace that they possess.

We suggested last week that there’s also money to be made offering business-level service and there is certainly revenue potential with putting ads in the timeline. Yet, I would wager that many Twitter users access the service with a third-party API client and wouldn’t see them. I certainly don’t think that Twitter would abuse their relationship with users by sending pure spam-tweets to your phone or device. We frankly can’t see a better way for Twitter to make loads of money than to use the enormous advertising potential already present in its tweets.

Is it intrusive? To a degree. Although, in the year that we’ve been running PingMe we haven’t had a single complaint, and I think you can see here how it can be done without being an eye-sore:

meme sample

Note: we haven’t yet taken on third-party advertisers for PingMe, but at some point we’d like to. Let us know if you’re a local bar that might like to have “1/2 price drnx at Moe’s 6-8” show up at the end of a reminder about “Happy hour with Frank tonight at 5.”

We’re on Twitter, too, follow us at: @billymeltdown and @ocskills

blog comments powered by Disqus