Biz Stone, in a blog post today, gave us a little insight into Twitter’s stance on advertising. There’s been a lot of speculation on how Twitter should and could advertise but Stone lays out a few ways where Twitter could monetize via ads and other methods and notes that the micro-blogging service would prefer to stay away from relying too much on ads, at least initially.
First, Stone says that Twitter sees the inherent value of commercial use of twitter, noting that Twitter is providing enterprises and individuals with viable uses that could be enhanced. Last summer, Twitter CEO Evan Williams said he thought Twitter’s strongest revenue potential would come from charging for commercial use by brands. Other initial ideas for ways to commercialize Twitter include “account authentication, management tools, and discovery mechanisms.” Stone doesn’t find the idea of selling banner ads on Twitter very compelling, but acknowledges the marketing value of twitter in connecting businesses to consumers and is looking to explore this particular avenue.
The best discovery mechanism is search and the obvious business model in search is advertising. But Twitter doesn’t have to make money yet, so it is not ready to commit to a revenue model and clearly wants to take the time find its own way and strategy. The startup knows that it can make money with advertising if it needs to but continues to experiment with different advertising strategies to find the model that’s the best fit. Some of these “tests” include text advertisements on the home page, ads in the stream, and text footer ads. Twitter also serves ads in the small box on profile pages for third-party Twitter apps, but doesn’t seem to charge the apps for the promotion.