Twitter has become iconic in the social media space; mainstream with today's society. The State Department even asked them to delay their scheduled maintenance due to the unrest in Iran.So the question is - with over 23 million users tweeting... how does the founders of Twitter make money?
Recent suggestions are focused on extracting a fee from corporations to perform a validation process - to certify that the tweets are legit. Certainly this is viableyet it is also quite weak. Adding any kind of advertisements/messages to the 140 character tweets would become obnoxious and would lead to a quick fail. We think Twitter missed the boat big time; and yet there are milllions of dollars being made... by others!
The Economist presented an interesting article "Tweeting all the way to the bank" discussing Twitter and Social Media monetization.
We think that Twitter should have held their API's tighter - providing them to agencies and developers for a fee. And secondly, they should have come out with their own rich Tweetdeck version. Their home page is weak functionally - and yet a modified Tweetdeck could support paid advertising and other potential monetization vehicles. Tweetdeck did not miss the boat - they may be in fact one of the captains, leaving Twitter and it's founders Evan and Biz at the dock.
Update: A new article: "Data on Twitter Decline Stacks Up", an eMarketing article (Nov 20, 2009) suggests a decline in traffic on the twitter.com home site. The chart, (borrowed) from the eMarketing article shows a wide disparaity in tracking... yet all shows a decline in this very popular social media platform. However, please keep in mind, this represents visits to the twitter.com page - not necessarily twitter usage. Big difference. And, this may further support our notion that others are making money - or are in a good position to do so - other than the founders themselves. We believe usage tracking will remain high, with traffic on 3rd party sites and mobile platforms.