Media

Co-founder says Twitter is still exploring business models

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In the past few months, Twitter appears to have finally found a business model, and that model is advertising — chief executive Dick Costolo said in September that the company had “cracked the code” on ads. But Twitter co-founder Ev Williams said today that the company isn’t settling on ads.

“There’s a million ways to make money with Twitter,” he said. “We’ll probably try a few more.”

Williams did talk a bit more about Twitter’s ad products, saying that the company’s concern right now is that demand from advertisers far exceeds supply, which is why the company is building out its sales team. Like Costolo, Williams emphasized that Twitter ads start out as regular content and stop running if they’re not getting much response from users.

John Battelle, who was interviewing Williams on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit, said he’s heard that Twitter’s Promoted Trend ads cost between $80,000 and $100,000 but Williams didn’t comment on specifics. (No surprise.) On the question of total advertising revenue, he said, “I haven’t done the math.”

There do seem to be revenue streams that Twitter isn’t interested in. The company is testing an analytics service and apparently doesn’t plan to charge for it. Although Twitter has sold access to its its firehose of data in the past, Williams said Twitter made those deals because the team thought increasing distribution of its data was a good thing.

“The point of those deals was never primarily about revenue,” he said.

That doesn’t mean reselling data couldn’t become source of money. Gnip today announced a deal with Twitter to resell access to the firehose.

Williams also discussed his decision to step down as Twitter’s CEO, which I covered in a separate post.

[photo by Dean Takahashi]


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