Serial entrepreneur Bill Gross took the stage for the event’s first ‘for show launch’ and publicly debuted TweetUp’s core service – the startup had earlier opened the gates for early-adopting advertisers only (their blog post is up too).
TweetUp’s destination site ranks Twitter search results by time and via an algorithm to determine if a result should go higher than other more recent tweets containing the keyword queried. Users will also see targeted (paid) advertiser results within that stream.
Gross explained that advertisers paying for ranking for specific keywords will also tend to be good results, since bad ads will be bid out of the system. TweetUp’s business model is based on a 50/50 revenue share system, which is a pretty compelling offer for advertisers.
TweetUp also offers any publisher embeddable widgets and other contextual layers filled with relevant live tweets based on given keywords – you can see an example in the TechCrunch.com sidebar on the right-hand side.
Additional benefit: analytics. Advertisers can use the TweetUp system to track in which Twitter clients their advertisements appear, the number of impressions served, aggregate of followers reached, and more.
The elephant in the room is of course that Twitter is experimenting with an ad platform of its own – not to mention other bidders such as Ad.ly and Twad.ly – and if TweetUp is going to be able to compete with that.
Time will tell, but Gross’ pedigree and some of the (at least for now) unique features of TweetUp might make a bigger impact than you would think at first glance.
Investors seems to agree: TweetUp has recently closed a $3.5 million first round of funding led by Index Ventures, and have taken investments from SV Angel (Ron Conway), First Round Capital, Betaworks, Steve Case, Jason Calacanis and Jeff Jarvis.