Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


How Twitter Ought To Be Monetizing Itself

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

If you’re at all a technophile. you’ve undoubtedly read how Twitter is slowly shutting down 3rd party apps, contemplating inserting ads into the Twitter stream, and generally flailing about in a poorly thought out effort to earn money. Twitter, whose popularity soared due to the openness of the platform, has been eschewing their earliest adopters and cheerleaders who, chafing under Twitter’s new rules, appear to be heading to a competing service called, which charges consumers $50/year for the service and intends to keep itself open for the use of 3rd party apps.

Now, I’m not claiming to be the smartest man in the room, but it seems to me that both parties are missing the boat. Yes, I get charging consumers for a service that they use, and that when the user is paying for the service, they can demand a certain modicum of privacy. But privacy is kind of BS on Twitter. Nearly everything happens in the open anyway, except for direct messages and hidden feeds (the point of hidden feeds being completely lost on me), and nobody seems to think that Twitter plans to sell these to anybody for anything anyhow.

And as for Twitter’s plans, well they seem even more silly. Maybe some mathematical genius has a means of mining people’s snarky comments for information on the perfect ad to serve up to that person and the exact right time. But it seems more likely to me that they’ll just creep people out in an uncanny valley sense, rather than successfully serve up ads people will click on.

No, the value in Twitter is in the fact that people are connected on the thing, and it can serve as a universal login for other services. So if I were running Twitter and looking for revenue, that is where I would look.

For example, let’s say I could send the following tweet:

@friend $5 Hey buddy, here’s the money I owe you

And have the money move directly from my account to my friend’s account via Paypal or Dwolla. Is that worth something? What would Paypal or Dwolla or someone else even pay to own the dollar sign command on Twitter?

Or how about this?

@friend Hey buddy, lending you Game of thrones on kindle. K

Or maybe this:

@friend Hey Buddy, here’s that movie you wanted to borrow from me. I

So why does this work? Because for iTunes or Amazon to offer services like this, they need to build a social network of their own. Apple tried that with ping and it didn’t work out. Part of why these things never work out is that people don’t trust retailers, and so they give them email addresses that they use for retailers alone. Thus when you let Game Center rape your address book looking for your friends, it finds virtually no-one, because nobody gave their personal email address to iTunes.

But if you connect your Twitter account to Dwolla, Amazon, iTunes, Dropbox and who knows what else, you enable all the benefits of social networking without having to recreate the wheel each time, and without having to share more than you really need to with the retailer, or even the person you’re trying to share with.

Twitter could charge companies for access like this either by transaction or just a flat rate per year. And they could auction off single or maybe double letter combinations for use as commands, such a $ for sending money. And in that world there’s no reason to limit how third parties access and display Twitter for people. In fact, the more varieties there are, the better.

There’s probably zero chance of Twitter changing course at this stage. But I always thought that was the real potential for Twitter, a single interface for connecting and sharing. That’s where the economic potential lies. The tweeting itself is just a fun sideline.


Life Insurance

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Life insurance serves two purposes. The first, is in case on an unexpected death, to be able to take care of children and family and whatnot. The other is to pay off one’s estate taxes, especially if one owns a business or if one’s estate is not something that one can easily divide and liquidate. So it was no surprise to me to see this today (via instapundit):

A new report from a trade association representing family-owned businesses fighting against the estate tax says a giant life insurance lobby is a key force pushing against repeal of the estate tax as the tax creates demand for their insurance.

The life insurance industry’s lobbying presence in D.C. is huge – larger than almost any other industry sector. According to the report, life insurers spent $10 million per month on lobbying in the first half of 2010. Only the pharmaceutical, electric utilities and oil and gas sectors, the heaviest of heavy hitters, spent more.[…]

One of the most outspoken voices urging a higher estate tax, Warren Buffet, owns six life insurance companies, the report says.

The point about Buffet is especially poignant. He’s a beneficiary of the estate tax, something the sycophantic business press never seems to point out.

Back in 2007 I wrote about this same topic. I submitted it to the Carnival of the Capitalists, and was rejected, because the CoTC had become overrun with real estate and insurance salesman pitching their wares, and wasn’t really about business and economics any more. The host actually told me “he didn’t see a connection between life insurance and the estate tax”. What a douche. I complained about this to Jay Solo, which set in motion the Carnival’s eventual demise.

It’s a shame how everything on the Internet starts out cool but quickly degrades into idiots schlocking their crap ad nauseam. Twitter is quickly turning into that. I get several new followers per week who are just bad fronts for some website selling crap. It’s sad, really.



Thursday, September 10th, 2009

So I’ve ditched Google Reader and now use Feed a Fever as my reader. Fever just added Twitter, Instapaper, and Delicious support, so you can share links. So I’m going to be abandoning my Google Reader feed and removing it from the blog. From now on, you’ll only need to follow me on the blog here and on Twitter.

Also, I plan on doing a review of Fever comparing it to Reader using screen capture video. Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.


Gmail Is Down

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Twitter confirms it’s not just me. You can follow the progress in getting it fixed here.


Prostitution (And Other Classifieds) To Move From Craigslist To Twitter

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

This whole business about the Craigslist killer has got me thinking about prostitution and Craigslist. Craigslist is simply not the best means of advertising for prostitution, and I predict that at some point in the next two years, it will largely migrate from Craigslist to Twitter. In fact, other classified advertisements may move there as well.

Craigslist has just started cooperating with state AGs to require credit card numbers for posting sex ads:

Just last November, Craigslist entered into an agreement with 40 state attorneys general to eliminate some of the anonymity by requiring credit cards to post these erotic ads.

This will cause prostitutes to scatter, first perhaps to other sections of Craigslist such as personals, and eventually, to someplace new. I think Twitter is the ideal location for advertising these services.

Twitter has all the necessary components for advertising such services: relative anonymitity, location awareness (should you choose to fill it in), and hash tags that allow for key terms like #w4m and #fs and a host of other code words used in advertising prostitution services. I know that iPhone apps such as TwitterFon and Twinkle specifically allow one to search for tags within one’s general vicinity too. These features alone make it suitable for classified ads (and maybe even as a competitor to eBay). Add TwitPic in the mix for pictures of what you’re getting and you’re off to the races.

But Twitter offers a protection against the likes of the Craigslist Killer that other services do not: social networking. At a minimum, prostitutes (or others) who regularly offer services over Twitter can network together and screen regulars with each other by direct messaging. In such a world, the first time the Craigslist Killer misbehaves, or tries tying up a prostitute to rob her, or is even a cop trying to bust the prostitute, he will have trouble because his Twitter identity will become known to everyone operating within that network.

Many technologies are pioneered by adult services, including the VCR, DVD’s and Internet webcams. I would look to prostitutes to lead the way on this, with others eventually posting classified ads on their Twitter accounts. There’s no need for the cumbersome list of cities and categories that Craigslist offers, and I predict that in a few years it will look as quaint as, well, I’m coming up blank at the moment, need more coffee. But trust me, it will seem quaint and old fashioned.

In fact, a quick Twitter search shows the process has already begun.


Blog Maintenance

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

So I’ve been undergoing some blog maintenance, have some more to go. Thought I’d clue you in as to what’s been going on.

First off is the blogroll. I’d let it get WAY out of date. I mean, seriously, it bore NO relation to what I was reading any more. So i took some time over the past week to segregate the blogs that I actually read into one section of my Google Reader, and then use that as the list from which to rebuild my blogroll. If you feel that I’ve deleted you in error, or that there’s something I should be reading that I’m apparently not, or anything along those lines, just let me know. I’m always happy to link back to anyone who links to me, and I’m always looking for new quality blogs to read.

Second up is the Google Reader Share. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if you’re only reading the main feed of the samaBlog, you’re only getting a partial Rob Sama experience. So i’ve found this cool little WordPress plug-in that I’m using to put the feed into the sidebar now. It is better than my previous solution in that my comments on what I’m reading are separated from the post I’m flagging. In any event, if you’re in my blogroll, there’s a good chance some number of links back to you will show up in that feed, as I’m mostly using the main page now for longer, more substantive posts.

Finally is Twitter. Twitter at some point made their feed password protected (WTF??) and so I updated my feed using their widget. I’ve been getting more into Twitter lately, mostly by limiting who I follow to people I know or have directly interacted with online. Putting every frigging blogger under the sun on your Twitter follow is insane; it’s just too much noise. But a few people you actually know and it works well. Also discovered a new iPhone app called TwitterFon that I really like. I’ve also started posting pictures there using Twitpic. So again, if you’re looking for the full Rob Sama experience, I’d encourage you to check out my Twitter page (which incidentally I managed to get to match the look and feel of the main samaBlog page precisely so be sure to appreciate the consistency).

I guess that’s it for now. I’m also going to try and fix my WordPress so i can post pictures directly here (something is off with my permissions or something) so look for that in the near future too.

Sorry if that bored you.