Is Twitter Planning To Monetize The Firehose?

October 8, 2009
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A few months ago, I wrote in “The Twouble with Twitter Search“:

But the trickle that Twitter returns is hardly enough.

I believe this limitation is by design–that Twitter knows the value of such access and isn’t about to give it away. I just hope Twitter will figure out a way to provide this access for a price, and that an ecology of information access providers develops around it. Of course, if Google or Microsoft buys Twitter first, that probably won’t happen.

Now that Twitter has raised $100M at a valuation of $1B, I doubt any acquisition will happen anytime soon. But, according to Kara Swisher’s unnamed sources:

Twitter is in advanced talks with Microsoft and Google separately about striking data-mining deals, in which the companies would license a full feed from the microblogging service that could then be integrated into the results of their competing search engines.

If so, then it’s about time! How much either Microsoft or Google would pay for this feed is an interesting question. It’s probably not a coincidence that Twitter raised its last round of funding before pursuing this path – the revenue they obtain this way could be significant, but is unlikely to justify a



A few months ago, I wrote in “The Twouble with Twitter Search“:

But the trickle that Twitter returns is hardly enough.

I believe this limitation is by design–that Twitter knows the value of such access and isn’t about to give it away. I just hope Twitter will figure out a way to provide this access for a price, and that an ecology of information access providers develops around it. Of course, if Google or Microsoft buys Twitter first, that probably won’t happen.

Now that Twitter has raised $100M at a valuation of $1B, I doubt any acquisition will happen anytime soon. But, according to Kara Swisher’s unnamed sources:

Twitter is in advanced talks with Microsoft and Google separately about striking data-mining deals, in which the companies would license a full feed from the microblogging service that could then be integrated into the results of their competing search engines.

If so, then it’s about time! How much either Microsoft or Google would pay for this feed is an interesting question. It’s probably not a coincidence that Twitter raised its last round of funding before pursuing this path – the revenue they obtain this way could be significant, but is unlikely to justify a $1B valuation.

In any case, I’m excited as a consumer that Twitter may finally allow Google and Microsoft to better expose the value of its content. But I’m also curious what my friends on the Twitter Search team think of the potential competition from the web search titans. Until now, no one has been able compete effectively with Twitter’s native search because of lacking access to the firehose. Having such access would give Google and Microsoft more than a fighting chance. Given the centrality of search to Twitter’s user experience, it’s an interesting corporate strategy.

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