In an interview with VentureBeat, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced plans to introduce commercial accounts aimed at business users willing to pay for premium services like detailed analytics. The company is considering following that by building business-oriented application programming interfaces (APIs), creating a “commercial layer” over the social network. The commercial APIs would be out “later this year,” he said.
The interview goes on to reveal how Twitter intends to grow, specifically the revenue side of their business:
The company has already moved in this direction by releasing a guide for professional users, detailing how companies can use it to find customers, pass on deals and perform market research. It is also going to offer “certified accounts,” for businesses, for example letting JetBlue certify that its Twitter account is owned by JetBlue and not by someone pretending to be JetBlue (until now, Twitter has done this only for a limited number of people, including celebrities). Stone didn’t give a specific date for when the company would launch the newer commercial offerings.
Also, it might be hard to tease out who is using the service professionally and who is using it for personal reasons, and then charge them for it. So the idea is to build a set of features that people are willing to pay for.
Establishing a market for Twitter has not been difficult thus far: according to comScore the social network has nearly 45 Million users. And having successfully raised nearly $55 Million in venture capital, the resources for growth appear to be there.
The question remains just how viable a social network can be when a commercial layer is added to it. Judging by Facebook’s annual revenue – the future looks bright for Twitter.
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