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Scoopler, one of the startups that launched during the real-time search craze of last year, has a new way of tracking news on Twitter.
It’s called @wtf. Twitter users can post a message starting with that Twitter handle with a topic they’re interested in like “Facebook” or “technology.” Scoopler’s @wtf account will receive the message and start referring popular stories about that topic. It looks for stories that are retweeted heavily and alerts users about them by mentioning their handles in a tweet, a process known as an @reply (which Twitter highlights for users on its site, making them easy to find). When you want it to stop, you can reply ‘s’ or ‘stop’ to the Twitter account. @wtf only delivers tweets about one topic at a time.
The idea is pretty simple, but it’s different from other methods of tracking news on Twitter. Normally, if you want to follow news, you might follow other accounts that tweet often about topics you’re interested in. Another option is to follow a Twitter search, but it’s usually overwhelming and doesn’t filter for repeated tweets or links.
After Google launched real-time search last year and Twitter finally started improving its own offering, real-time search startups have been retooling their business strategies. Scoopler is shifting away from its standalone real-time search property, while OneRiot has turned on an advertising network. Tweetmeme earns revenue off advertising on its page and is testing new types of advertising that’s “retweetable,” playing off the behavior of Twitter users who repeat or “retweet” messages that they like to their followers.
Twitter announced its own ad network last week, putting ads into search results and directly in people’s streams of updates. Once it nails down the details, Twitter will begin serving ads through other startups built on its platform that want to deliver them. This could bring another revenue source to Twitter startups like Scoopler.
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