March 21 2010

Twitter Is 4-Years-Old… When Does It Start Making Money?

twitter_logoThe popular micro blogging service Twitter turned 4-years-old today.

A year ago today I documented the third birthday of Twitter by asking when it would finally start making money.  Now here we are a full year later on its fourth birthday … and it still isn’t clear how the company is going to make any money.

There has been a lot of talk about the service possibly starting business accounts which will have more tools at their disposal for the companies to follow the analytics of their account.  This has been discussed for ages now, and still nothing has come of it as of yet.

Possibly with the data it has open up to search engines via its “firehose” for search purposes?  We know that both Microsoft and Google paid them for the access, and while it’s believed to have been in the millions, but it doesn’t come even remotely close to making up the $160 million total the company has taken in venture capital thus far.

Some expected Ev Williams, one of the founders of the site, to announce a Twitter ad platform at the just completed SXSWi conference, but all he did was announce a new system for publishers for further content distribution.  Some think the announcement may come next month now at Twitter’s chirp conference for developers, but it looks like finally, after four years, there might some sort of plan for cash flow.

fail whale… I may faint.

The problem is that I want Twitter to succeed.  While I don’t think it is the be-all, end-all that some people out there do, I do think it is a highly useful tool.  I feel some people have blown out of proportion just how important Twitter is, and that they have convinced themselves that nothing more important has ever happened in the history of man, I just see it as an extremely useful tool.  It has broken down some communication barriers in this world, and I think that is  a great thing, but I don’t think the service has quite gotten to point of greatness some of its zealots would have you believe.

At its core Twitter is still but a tool, a tool with a lot of potential, but a tool nonetheless.  As my friend Steven Hodson has begun to be fond of saying, “Twitter is becoming part of the plumbing of the Internet, and plumbing doesn’t go away.”  I have to agree with him, Twitter is with us for a long time to come, it would just like to see them start making some money so we coul dbe sure of the fact that it was indeed going to stick around.

So, happy birthday, Twitter … now start making some money so that you can be here for at least a few more years.

Feel free to follow me at @seanpaune if you are so inclined.

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