Twitter dips its feathers into flash sales with EarlyBird

Twitter is testing group deals and flash sales through a special EarlyBird account as it fleshes out yet another revenue stream.

The account will offer special limited-time-only offers from advertisers. Advertisers will set the terms of the deals, while Twitter will pick deals it thinks will interest its followers, all while earning a revenue share. The company will start with nationwide offers in the U.S. and then potentially narrow them down by location or type of offer. Twitter hinted that if the project is successful, it might go for fashion or music-focused EarlyBird accounts.

“Every couple days, our Earlybird at Twitter HQ lays a golden egg,” the company said on a wiki explaining the service. “Inside this wondrous egg is a piece of parchment with the day’s magical deal.”

The EarlyBird account makes up yet another potential revenue stream for the company, beyond Promoted Tweets, Trends, and selling real-time data access to Microsoft and Google.

Twitter is taking a page from some heavily venture-backed startups in flash sales and social buying like Gilt Groupe and Groupon that offer limited-time-only deals sometimes paired with built-in viral mechanics that deepen the discount if friends are recruited. It’s not clear if viral mechanics will come to play as central a role to EarlyBird as they have for other social buying startups. Right now, it looks like a very simple first come, first served model.


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