While the site of micro-blogging is to offer a French version to its users, we still know relatively little about its uses. L’Atelier and FaberNovel unveiled today at a conference the results of a study conducted jointly.
Conclusion: 60% of French Internet users confirm knowing Twitter (results of a recent poll done for L’Atelier by IFOP). This reputation does not extend to other micro-blogging sites such as FiendFeed and Yammer, where less than 5% of French have heard about them.
What’s Twitter’s business model and how do they plan to make money? Haven’t you heard that before?
As we all know, Twitter is good for a lot of things, including sharing information and links, listening to the thoughts and announcement of people you respect, and as an organic, user-driven source of breaking news. But is this enough to make it a profitable business?
“A fast growing amount of information is coursing through Twitter very quickly, and we want there to be many ways to access that information,” co-founder Evan Williams posted to the company blog. “As part of that effort, we’ve partnered with Google to index the entire world of public tweets as fast as possible and present them to their users in an organized and relevant fashion.”
From the cache of documents leaked to TechCrunch earlier this year by an anonymous hacker, we know that every big player in online media, including Google and Microsoft, has been knocking on Twitter’s doors, seeking a deal (which have been announced very recently). This is no surprise: Twitter is the hottest thing in digital media since the advent of the world wide web.
BusinessWeek last week have started their article as such:
It has become a popular game, even among investors who should know better, to dismiss Twitter based on lack of a business model. But there is a difference between not generating income and lack of a business model. I believe that, in just a few short months, Twitter will show the world that not only do they have a business model, but that theirs is the most sophisticated around.
Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter, has to defend over and over why his three-year-old company isn’t making money yet, despite having raised more than $150 million in venture capital. He recently spoke on camera at Twitter’s offices with Adam Lashinsky for Fortune. Here is a video extract. Full article here.
Though, Twitter have many supporters and believers.
“I greatly enjoy Twitter. It’s a technology that permits more immediate and spontaneous communication with people. And for us, it’s a great way to collaborate with others and gain deeper and more meaningful engagement with readers on everything we do. There’s nothing that is more important to a media brand today than engagement. We’re all trying to achieve relationships with our users to induce loyalty, to increase repeat visits, and to encourage valuable editorial contributions from readers. Twitter is an essential tool to make that happen.”
The most obvious sources of revenue; advertising and premium features, are still to be developed. Advertising will not come before next year at best, and premium features for businesses are still looking for their foothold (like detailed analytics, insight in the retweeting dynamics, reports on followers and their behavior, trusted accounts, ROI measurements, etc).
The last question is how Twitter will increase the number and the loyalty of its users, hoping this will also increase the quality and relevance of the tweets (90% of the traffic is generated by 10% of the users, and a quarter of the tweets is spambot generated). Twitter has been refraining from providing utilities to manage tweets and followers, and that led to a proliferation of small startups. It will come a time –the sooner the better—where some consolidation happens in that ecosystem, bringing more automation and getting more people to sign up to the service. Twitter’s decision to support French, Italian, German, and Spanish languages will also make it less US/UK centric and more international.
As many of us, more and more we are relying on Twitter as our source of news and article links. A new site, The Twitter Times had the idea of filtering all those news and links from tweets of the many people you’re following and have put them in an easy-to-digest newspaper-style form. Watch their video. Their service is currently in beta.
Basically, The Twitter Times looks at all the people you follow on Twitter, finds their tweets with links in them, and creates a custom newspaper for you based on those links. But it’s not just a straight stream of stories based on how recent they are, instead the service looks at how many people have linked to the article, both in your social circle and outside of it.