Why Twitter isn’t making money

Twitter – an innovative micro-blogging service – has become the new darling among social media marketers and internet geeks. According to comScore, over the last year, Twitter’s traffic has exploded 15X to 44.5 million worldwide unique visitors in June, according to comScore. But Twitter’s growth story isn’t just limited to the U.S. and North America, where only about half its traffic comes from, according to comScore. In June 09, Twitter attracted 11 million visitors from Europe, 7 million from Asia Pacific, and 4 million from Latin America — a total 22 million unique visitors from those three regions, up from about 2 million the year before.

Everyday there are more than 100+ stories circulated across various news and blog platforms highlighting how companies are leveraging Twitter either to increase sales or to raise awareness or just to be visible. Unlike its other counter parts like Facebook or LinkedIn, every now and then people raise questions like…

“Do they make money…how do they survive?”

“There aren’t any ads or subscription fees, how these guys manage their salaries?

“Is it a charity…Google is the most generous of all but still it knows how to make money”

So…the big question is Why Twitter doesn’t make money if it is an industry synonym for Web 2.0 or Social Media????

According to Daniel Riveong, an Internet Marketer working at e-Storm International in San Francisco, California, twitter has to start making money else…
“Maybe Twitter won’t be around to see 2010, yet many major brands have moved in to communicate with consumers and the world via Twitter. He categorized some of these companies under three types of twittering brands:
# 1 Conversational Twitters: H&R Block, Zappos, 10 Downing Street
# 2 News Item Twitters: Amazon.com, New York Times
# 3 Reputation Monitoring Twitters: Radian6 & GeekSquad”

There are many well wishers of Twitter on the web who suggest various way through which twitter can make money. On such supporter is Mashable blogger Adam Ostrow, who feels that Twitter could “couple e-commerce with advice from other shoppers, an element that most search engines do not offer.”

Steven Verbruggen feels that if they want to make some money quick, premium services like Google Analytics could generate quite some cash flow. He further suggests that Twitter can make money by:
1. Acquiring a company that is interested in data and relations and leverage Twitter as a research platform.
2. Advertising route
3. Turning it into a commercial service, let users pay for the use, or let them pay if they want to go over a certain threshold like following xx people or posting xx tweets per month.
4. Introducing commercial features
5. And last but not the least, by introducing Twitter Analytics.

Sarah Milstien, program founder for Just Food, a local-food-and-farms non-profit, and co-founder of Two Tomatoes Records, feels that
“Twitter could make money in a number of ways, from selling data to selling services (it recently posted an ad for a Business Product Manager, calling the role “Twitter’s first product manager focused on revenue generation” and then describing a product that sounds like competition for Yammer and Present.ly). Indeed, Blog posts and articles speculate constantly, and comments around the Web range from curious to seemingly angry that Twitter is not yet generating serious cash.”

Is too late for Twitter to monetize from its business model which has already been copied aped and experimented by different companies.

Few companies are already experimenting with business models, creating a situation where these sites have monetized before Twitter itself (Mashable, for instance, launched the Twitter Brand Sponsors ad format recently). The ad network Federated Media is taking a shot at making money from Twitter; FM has launched ExecTweets. A site created by Federated Media, in partnership with Microsoft, ExecTweets is a platform that aggregates the tweets of top business execs and empowers the community to surface the most insightful, business-related tweets.

Even more interesting: Twitter will officially endorse ExecTweets today and encourage brands to create portals like this.

There are several such sites floating around leveraging on the Twitter mania. In an interesting development, Twitter’s legal team sent a cease and desist order to New Yorker Dean Collins telling him that his mytwitterbutler service has to go because it has the T word in its URL and the domain must be handed over before August 24 or else.

So…what’s stopping Twitter to start making money???

I would like to draw an analogy on Google’s growth in the recent times. Be it Google’s business model, industry buy-ins, favorable developments and later on the migration of its services from a free-for-all to a money making machine. Google started off as an innovative concept and introduced its marvelous search engine, on similar lines Twitter introduced an innovative service that gave the birth of the new buzzword Web 2.0. Google had an instant hit in its kitty with its search engine and suddenly VCs, companies and investors were knocking on Google’s door. Twitter’s story is very similar as well. Twitter has already received funding of $20 million (initially) and $250 million (recently). Like Google, Twitter recently turned down a half-billion dollars from Facebook.

After this phase, Google instead of adopting the traditional money making business models waited patiently and used initial funding to ensure that salaries and sustainability are not serious concerns. They used this grace period intelligently to conceptualize and design state-of-the-art innovative technologies. The company knew that it has struck gold with its most innovative web technology of the decade, so they have to live up to their expectation.

Mantra was to go slow and step by step. Leverage on what they know best and introduce offsprings of the mother – The Search Engine. They invested most of their time on conceptualizing innovative technologies and they took their good long time to introduce them. Today when people talk about innovation, Google, 3M and Apple are always mentioned.

Twitter started off on a similar note. They just can’t follow something that has already been introduced, leveraged and exploited. What would be new (read Twitter) about it? I strongly feel that Twitter is not in a rush as of now and would be using this honeymoon time to do its home work properly and thinking about new innovative web 2.0 technologies and platform.

Twitter will definitely start making money but only with its own innovative tools and applications. To my mind, it will introduce something else to make money only if it can take the legacy of Twitter to the next level of innovation – something that is quite synonymous with its brand name.

I am not an expert in web technologies but I strongly feel that Twitter core mantra is sharing information and all its future endeavors would be around this core concept only (after all Web 2.0 is about it as well). Going forward, I feel Twitter could be thinking of something on these lines: –

1. Authentication – Today anyone can create a login and start using Twitter. Twitter can think of introducing the authentication or verification angle to it so that the analytics chalked out using Twitter would become more reliable.

2. Subscription based tweets – Tweets are the main weapon in its arsenal. All successful case studies on leveraging Twitter had one thing in common i.e. Tweets. Twitter may club it with its Authentication service and start offering specific and customized user tweets for specific reasons. It could be either surveys, analytics, customer service, sales etc.

3. Search Engine – Twitter can integrate a powerful search engine that gives the functionality to filter tweets and get only the most relevant ones as per the specific search criterion. This could become a powerful tool for the enterprise users of Twitter that can be made fee based gradually.

4. Twitpic – An interesting service to move beyond the 140 limit on Twitter and add some personalization to a dull Twitter user home page. Taking it to the next level, Twitter could think of introducing a platform for not only integrating pictures but also videos and files.

5. Another out of the box concept could be “Breaking News” service – Most of active Twitter users will validate this statement that Twitter has become an internet channel which gives them the news faster than any other news channel or resource. In real world we have plethora of TV channels and print media resources but as we are moving to the new internet world with Web 2.0, news about people who aren’t known to many, news that the whole world may not be interested in but you would, news about your friends, families, peer-group…will make the difference and who else can do this better or is equipped to do better than TWITTER.

Will surely love your thoughts and ideas on my thoughts. In case you have something interesting, not done before and goes well for Twitter, lets connect and suggest some good and innovative ways through which our dear friend Twitter can take its legacy to a new height – “Google of Web 2.0”


Now Air New Zealand is leveraging facebook to promote its Hong Kong London route targeting young professionals

Companies from different industry verticals are coming up with innovative ideas to leverage Web 2.0 wave. Joining Lufthansa and Emirates Airways, Air New Zealand has launched an application and a fan page to promote its Hong Kong London route targeting young professionals.

“This is the first time the company has rolled out a Facebook focused campaign and wants to use this channel as a test platform. Facebook can reach her target audience, comprising frequent independent travelers between 25 to 34 years old that makes up the bulk of Facebook users here” – Prudence Lau, marketing manager in Hong Kong & Southern China for Air New Zealand

BIG Idea – “Explore the other side of London”

The theme of this Facebook campaign is called “Explore the other side of London” that will run until the end of next month. The campaign is supported by PR activation to invite key media influencers and bloggers to participate.

The application encourages its customers to come up with an idea to travel in London besides the typical tourist spots. It allows consumers to pick a travel companion and create a dream trip where the most unique and wacky trip will stand a chance to win free air tickets and accommodation to London.

Measurement metrics
Lau is also excited about setting up a fan page for Air New Zealand Hong Kong, which she said would be more than just updates on the latest fares but include the latest happenings and trends in New Zealand and England. She would use the number of fans recruited on the Facebook fan page as one of the KPIs on the effectiveness of this campaign.

Rudi Leung, communication planning director for Agenda Hong Kong, said Air New Zealand will benchmark results of this campaign with its previous consumer engagement activities in traditional media, which will help to decide how they would allocate more budgets for social media in the future.

According to Check Facebook, there are almost 2.2 million people using Facebook in Hong Kong.

Ref: Marketing-Interactive.Com

New profile additions in the C-suite – Chief Growth Officer (CGO)

In recent months, organic growth has risen to the top of the corporate agenda. A Marakon survey in April 2004 found that organic growth is the key issue for 59 percent of the senior executives running US, European and Asian companies. For 57 percent, the priority has increased over the past year. Other studies highlight similar sentiments. For instance, a recent IBM survey of CEOs worldwide found revenue growth is the top agenda item for four of five.

Most if not all of a company’s resources are spent moving through its corporate lifecycle, and that movement is typically fixed along a predetermined path. What happens when that company experiences rapid sales growth and an immediate change is required?

What happens when a rapid shift must occur due to unexpected competitor activity or due to a recent exodus of staff in light of the current labor shortage?

The challenge today is that with companies running lean and efficiently they cannot typically afford the time, money, and people required to deal with these issues effectively. They usually cannot afford the expensive trial-and-error associated with both learning and implementing new best practices, either. This is as true for Fortune 500 companies trying to reinvent themselves as it is for startups just entering the marketplace and experiencing fast growth.

Growth has become so important that an increasing number of companies–H.J. Heinz, Interpublic Group and Hain Celestial, among them–have carved out a new executive position: “Chief Growth Officer.”

Popularly termed as Mr. Idea, this profile is basically to have one person in charge of all-around growth helps you to look at business processes holistically. Typical role entails creating new products, finding new ways to repackage old products, or just enhancing relationships.

A CGO is like having 5 key positions in one:-
1. Chief Growth Officer/Organization Development Director
2. Chief Information & Technology Officer
3. Chief Learning Officer (Top HR Executive)
4. Chief Operating Officer
5. Strategic Advisor

Generic job responsibilities:
– Evaluates the corporate structure and ensures that the structure is aligned with the company’s objectives.
– Analyses effects of proposed changes to structure and its effect on the motivation and work/life balance of employees.
– Works with managers to develop effective line of communication and chains of responsibility.
– Requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 10 years of experience in the field.
– Familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures.
– Relies on extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.
– Performs a variety of tasks.
– Leads and directs the work of others.
– A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected.

Fig: Org Structure

Companies like Colgate Palmolive, Dentsu Media, Thomas Group, Zurich Financial Services, Hershey Company, TradeKing, H.J. Heinz, Interpublic Group and Hain Celestial etc. have already hired renowned professionals for this profile.

According to a recent job post for this profile, following are the expected qualities of this profile: –
# Identify root causes for missing opportunities and create conditions for growth
# Focus on new business models that leverage enabling trends, solve customer problems in larger potential markets and rapidly assemble internal and external capabilities required to build the platforms
# Validate ideas and achieve milestones in the development and execution of new business opportunities
# Promote new product development
# Design and build an organization to screen, select, fund and deliver the company Enterprise Growth
# Agenda and support Group Growth Agendas; define the mission of the organization and establish budget and investment requirements
# Support the CEO and Group VPs in shaping their enterprise and group growth agendas and related plans and priorities
# Understand future trends and targeted domains/markets and related dynamics
# Identify domains in which the company should seek opportunities to build a leadership position; explore big potential opportunities, (which customers could the company work with to prototype/build out the opportunities? what core capabilities can be leveraged in this new and emerging opportunity space?)
# Identify the systemic and interrelated challenges that drive towards and away from growth; align key elements of infrastructure and culture/behavior to the growth goals and agendas
# Mobilize business building leaders and teams to build out new targeted businesses/growth platforms

Requirements: Critical Traits for the CGO Role:
# Abstract reasoning, flexibility and idea orientation (able to ‘connect the dots’)
# Assertiveness and aggressiveness (can state opinions forcefully and deal with resistance or confrontation effectively)
# Self-discipline and urgency (sense of time pressure and motivation to complete activities)
# Risk taking (willing to try new things and explore new domains)
# Natural curiosity with bias for action exploring possibilities
# Ego drive and ego strength
# An undergraduate degree is required

Critical Experiences:
# Experience in strategy development with a history of innovation and passion for growth
# Track record indicating focused time to the external environment, customers, and external networking

Singapore’s FairPrice leveraging Facebook – An impressive Social Media Marketing Strategy

Supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice has entered social media with a Facebook profile ‘That’s My FairPrice’, already supported by a huge fans base. According to press statement the supermarket chain acquired about 1,000 fans just three hours after its launch. As on 18th August, it had 7,595 fans on facebook.

Presently, it is running an online contest, “That’s my Family” Contest, where it is inviting its fans to post their & their family’s photo on the wall and add a short caption.

Once the photo is uploaded, users are then asked to share their post with their friends and tag at least 20 friends to get them to “Like” your post. If any particular user has the most “Liked” entry at the end of the contest, that user will win the Grand Prize – S$1,000 NTUC FairPrice Gift Vouchers! Also, if any user is among the Top 3 “Liked” entries of the week, he/she stands to win S$100 NTUC FairPrice Gift Vouchers!

Initially, to promote the Facebook profile, NTUC FairPrice also launched an advertising campaign featuring a TVC. The campaign was developed in partnership with iHub Media and FairPrice’s media agency MPG. The new Homepage Reach Block Video Fan ad unit, claims to ensure two million impressions and up to a maximum of five impressions per user.

“This debut into social media is yet another channel for us to enhance our relationship with customers, so as to understand and better serve their needs. We will continue to explore new channels to engage our customers, fulfilling our brand promise in delivering excellent customer service.” — Jeremy Khoo, deputy director of marketing communications at NTUC FairPrice

In Singapore, Facebook reaches more than 1.4 million internet users, or 50 per cent of the web population (comScore Media Metrix, May 2009), with an almost even representation in each age group. On average, more than 366,000 Singapore users log in to Facebook every day.

Last year NTUC Fairprice appointed Euro RSCG and MPG as its creative and media agencies following a six-way review. The retailer also appointed local interactive shop Manic for a website revamp.

References: Brand Asia and Marketing-interactive.com

Indian tax law set to come of age

The government has proposed a dramatic makeover of the country’s 48-year tax law, bringing it on a par with the new economy and also with what prevails in the rest of the world.

The draft of a new direct tax code introduced by the finance ministry on Wednesday has suggested significant cuts in tax rates for individuals and companies, pruned exemptions, choked loopholes for foreign companies and radically changed definitions, all of which are likely to have a mixed impact on companies and individuals. Together with greater surveillance, it would ensure greater compliance and thereby reduce the risk of any loss in tax revenues due to a cut in rates.

“The underlying philosophy of the code is the philosophy of the government. (It is) wedded to a well-regulated free market system,” P. Chidambaram, current home minister who was involved in preparing the draft code earlier, said at a press conference called by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to release the draft code. Mukherjee said he would strive to introduce the draft legislation in the winter session of Parliament.

Source: Livemint

Cisco Unveils Vision of Future Cities at Incheon Global Fair & Festival

SEOUL, Korea – August 6, 2009 – Cisco will demonstrate its Smart+Connected Communities vision for cities of the future at the Incheon Global Fair and Festival.

The Cisco® Smart+Connected Communities initiative aims to help cities and communities around the world use the network as the platform to transform how citizens use utilities, safety and security measures, connected real estate, transportation, health care, learning, sports venues and government services. Smart+Connected Communities solutions address the demand of increasingly urbanised populations by providing a network-enabled blueprint for successful ‘smart’ cities of the future that run on networked information.

Cisco will present its Smart+Connected Communities vision at the Cisco ‘Global Cities of the Future’ pavilion at the Global Fair & Festival, which opens Aug. 7 and runs for 80 days.

Wim Elfrink, chief globalisation officer and executive vice president of Cisco Services, said, “We believe the network can truly be the platform for transforming cities, communities and countries. Cisco’s presence at the Incheon Global Fair and Festival is further evidence of our commitment to collaborate with the Incheon Free Economic Zone and cities around the world to help them use technology for increased environmental, social and economic sustainability.”

The Cisco pavilion showcases six solutions: Cisco Virtual Information Desk, Cisco TelePresenceTM, Cisco community and connection services, security operations, building control, and green energy.

# Cisco Virtual Information Desk provides remote management functions that allow a receptionist to effectively welcome visiting customers from multiple locations.

# Virtual Information Desk is an environmentally friendly solution that helps reduce commuting and labor costs as well as energy consumption.

# Cisco TelePresence is a cutting-edge video conferencing solution with full high-definition video and high-quality audio combined with interactive conferencing functions that maximize the feeling of in-person interactions.

# Cisco community and connection services allow citizens to get remote health care and public services at home through Cisco Customer TelePresence by directly connecting to hospitals and public organizations.

# Cisco security operations are shown in building management and monitoring systems based on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. A closed-circuit television gives an operator in a control room the experience of real-time security and precautions. The comprehensive Inno-Watch solution can control CCTV images and external signals.

# The building control center allows visitors to experience IP-based intelligent building systems that address a number of integration, security and centralized monitoring issues. The building control center integrates IP operations and management to reduce operating costs and increase the asset value of buildings. Users can also access services such as meeting room reservations from their IP phone, digital media systems or PDA.

# The green energy exhibit showcases the Cisco EnergyWise solution, which deals with energy savings and environmental issues in office buildings and homes. Based on Cisco’s router, switch and data center platform technologies, Cisco EnergyWise helps monitor energy consumption thus prevents unnecessary energy consumption.

In line with its pavilion, Cisco will provide a comprehensive Customer Briefing Center program for enterprise customers. Cisco is also scheduled to hold the Sustainable Cities of the Future Conference in Incheon on Sept. 18, which will bring together thought leaders from government and developers.

As part of the Cisco ‘Global Cities of the Future’ pavilion opening event, Cisco will provide free entry tickets to 50 people for the Incheon Global Fair and Festival and an opportunity to use Cisco TelePresence to meet with friends and relatives abroad.

About Incheon Global Fair and Festival
With the theme of ‘Lightening Tomorrow’, Global Fair & Festival 2009 Incheon will take place from Aug. 7 to Oct. 25, 2009. Hosted by Incheon Metropolitan City and organized by 2009 Incheon Global Fair & Festival Organizing Committee, the Incheon Global Fair and Festival will be held in Songdo International City.

Source: Official Press Release, Cisco