July 24, 2009 |
As Twitter is growing more and more popular as time passes and new people arrive to the microblogging platform looking for a new expression tool and some of them learning to use Twitter for self-promotion or brand promotion as well, it is no wonder that there are other people that create their numerous applications using Twitter API and offering all the Twitter users various ways to make money off their Twitter accounts.
And while Twitter itself is not quite willing to share their plans on how exactly the team and Twitter investors will capitalize on the product’s power, there are numerous other people that build their entire business models around Twitter. I will not talk about how Twitter is used by all sorts of marketers, consultants and promoters to sell their products or services with the help of Twitter, I am only going to list all the tools that are available to any Twitter user who wants to make some money off his or her addiction to Twitter. So here they are (and feel free to add those I leave out below in the comments so that we could jointly build a comprehensive list):
The first obvious ways to make money off Twitter are related to advertising: as our profiles and our Twitter updates all get attention from various followers, some companies arrive offering their tools to monetize those online properties. And the approaches here can vary: where TwittAd offers advertisers to buy visual ads on users’ profiles (and has quite a strange eCPM of $10 which sounds like way too expensive and strange it terms of ROI), Magpie offers Twitter to send sponsored updates with the texts and links submitted (and paid-for) by potential advertisers.
A similar service is TwitPub that also lets advertisers buy premium tweets that will only be distributed strictly to one’s approved followers as they only work with private Twitter streams. Other similar services are adCause, twtAd and probably there are others I have not heard of myself. But anyway I think the selection is enough for every Twitter microblogger to find an advertiser who will want to use his or her Twitter stream or profile for their marketing messages.
What is still underserved by potential ads on Twitter (and what I think is a huge oversight) is Twitter profile pictures (avatars) because unlike profile backgrounds they are seen by many users when we get updates from our Twitter friends in various Twitter clients like Twhirl. And of course I will notice it if some of my friends will use a brand’s logo instead of their own photos for a week. But since no service exists for that (at least a service I am aware of so correct me if I’m wrong), I believe this must be the next step for Twitter advertising networks.
Another approach that some startups are build around is evaluating and selling Twitter accounts themselves. TweetValue offers a mechanism to find out the monetary value of your Twitter account and it will even offer you a way to sell your account after verifying you are actually the owner.
The latest idea that has arrived to the Twitter scene is Tweexchange – the marketplace for Twitter user names where you can buy usernames from other Twitter users same as we currently do with domains. I can already see prospects for Twittername-squotting but there will obviously be quite a number of people who will want to register some promising domain names while they are free to be able to sell them later.
So I think the potential is here and probably if you work on your Twitter account hard enough, you could eventually reach the stage where it actually generates money for you. But it is worth noting that chances are that there are other – and more stable and guaranteed – ways to earn money without spending all your time on Twitter.