ReadWriteWeb reckons that Twitter’s business model just got unearthed. When signing up to Twitter, you’re asked if you don’t want to start following a bunch of people. Or brands, really. Here’s a screenshot taken from my registering a new Twitter account (for people who like computer and videogames, incidentally):
So what does that mean, and how can Twitter make money?
Well, I think RWW is pretty much dead on here, thinking opt-in dollars for Evan Willians & Co.
Who says you can’t buy friends? $1 per user who takes the suggestion and opts in to getting messages from @JetBlue or @Zappos? That could happen. Could those companies keep their freshly purchased friends? Only if their Twitter output stayed interesting!
So basically, if you choose to follow any of these suggestions, Twitter would get paid. If this is true, if that’s where we’re going, you can expect to see “suggestions” all across the site. How else would Twitter reach people like me, already using the service?
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the way to go. Think about it, what if marketers could pay Twitter to get their suggestions to the right people, building on demographic data acquired by analyzing tweets sent by you and the people you follow? Add a “suggest people I should follow” feature, and a sponsored box at the results page, and Twitter would most likely see money in the bank. After all, while we’ve got Britney Spears and Shaq on Twitter, it is still a far way from being a mainstream adopted service.
I bet Kevin Thau already figured this out, but if not, this one’s for free!