Twitter’s new deal service, EarlyBird, takes flight with help from Groupon, Gilt

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Twitter’s new flash deal service, EarlyBird, kicked off today with an inaugural deal from Walt Disney Co. for a free ticket to see its latest film, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The new service gives Twitter yet another revenue stream on top of search ads, promoted trends, and data deals with search engines like Google. Disney also worked with the company a few weeks ago, buying its first Promoted Trend to advertise Toy Story 3.

Deals will pop up on accounts several times a week. Some of them will come from flash sale or group deal companies like Groupon and Gilt Groupe, showing that Twitter is eager to partner and not compete with them right away.

After four years of brushing off questions about its business model and raising about $160 million in capital at a more than $1 billion valuation, Twitter is in full experimentation mode with various revenue streams. Starting last fall, it sold access to its full real-time feed of data to Google and Microsoft. Then it launched search ads in April and sponsored trending topics last month. One other potential forthcoming model may be promoted users.


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