Twitter Develops New Revenue Models

Twitter Inc., the micro-blogging Web service, plans to develop business opportunities based around sharing its data with third parties, Evan Williams, chief executive officer, said Tuesday.

His remarks come after reports that the San Francisco-based start-up is in discussions with tech giants Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) about deals which would see Microsoft and Google licensing Twitter's data feeds.

"I find that interesting," Williams said at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, when asked about the opportunities to share data with third parties.

"The way we would approach that is that we have (groups) of users that are trying to do different things."

"There's definitely a path there that features data being a big part of it," The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was also reported, Williams didn't really say a whole lot else about where Twitter's going, beyond what the world already knows: it's been growing fast. It turned down a buyout offer from Facebook. It just raised a ton of money. It still hasn't disclosed a long-term revenue model.

"It's not like we're spending our days looking in the couch cushions for the elusive revenue model, but obviously we've done a lot of thinking about it," Williams said, declining to comment on the potential of search deals with Google or Microsoft. "I can't tell you exactly what the model is, but it's pretty obvious to you that there may be some advertising that makes sense...there's a lot of commercial activity on Twitter today, there's a lot of brand marketers who use Twitter today, and it works. We think of Twitter (as) not a social network, it's an information network...a substantial part of that is commercial and theoretically monetizable information."

Williams, who previously founded Pyra Labs and sold its flagship Blogger product to Google, took over as CEO of Twitter from fellow co-founder Jack Dorsey last year. Dorsey, who remains Twitter chairman, is working on a new mobile commerce start-up called Square, CNET News reports.

Williams quoted conference host and publisher Tim O'Reilly as saying, "Business is a context for doing interesting things," and added, "the things we can do with Twitter blows my mind. It's not about becoming part of a bigger company."

Twitter has also seen its share of outages and glitches, though Web 2 Summit Program Chair John Battelle noted he hadn't seen the "fail whale" very often lately.

"We've done a tremendous amount of work the past year where problems got fixed, but we're not satisfied," Williams said, reports.

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