Posted by Sara Zucker on November 25, 2009 01:48 PM
The Internet is all atwitter about Twitter, a brand that has reached an estimated value of $1 billion since its founding in 2006.
Like other social media, Twitter faces a dilemma: it is easier to sign up users than it is to monitize them. Personal accounts are free, and the microblogging site has yet to settle on a proper business model.
Taking a step in that direction, Twitter is establishing paid-for business accounts. Founder Biz Stone assures businesses they can still use Twitter for free, but the paid accounts will provide a "special layer of access" that includes feedback and statistics.
Twitter has made a number of recent deals to license its content and live streams to other sites. Last month, Twitter signed deals with Google and Microsoft Bing to integrate its real-time search results in to both search engines. Stone is also considering the possibility of partnerships with news agencies and media organizations.
"I felt there was a wonderful partnership to be had here," he said. "It is an interesting time for news organizations and I am looking forward to seeing what we can create if we open our doors to them."
Twitter has gained prominence as a channel in which alerts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other major events spread quickly. For example, the first at-the-scene photographs of the Hudson River plane crash appeared on the site. Businesses are eager to tap into the channel's power, though some have made beginners' missteps.
Related in brandchannel papers [pdf]: "Get On Twitter" Is Not A Social Media Strategy