A Brief History Of: Brainstorming Revenue Models for Twitter

[Originally published on Flux Research in 2012]

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77 Revenue Models For Twitter (Circa 2009) via Open Innovators

Discussing Twitter’s revenue model and/or business model with a focus on monetization has been one of the more popular passtimes of web business writers. Twitter’s confusion over monetization is an example of what happens when you build a business with an incomplete business model.

But I thought it would be interesting to gather together some of the suggestions made over the years regarding a revenue model for Twitter. What one finds is that other companies have pursued these tactics either on Twitter or in creating new companies while Twitter continued to baffle the world with their reluctance to monetize.

Back in 2008, Aidan Henry referenced the already “perennial debate surrounding Twitter’s revenue model” and suggested 3 related tactics involving advertising and premium ad-free accounts.

2009 was a big year for Twitter revenue model brainstorming:

Business Insider’s Create A Twitter Revenue Model Contest resulted in a deluge of entries including 11 Business Plans For Twitter. Talk about an embarassment of riches!

On Product Management conducted a survey and came up with “Ideas for Twitter’s Revenue Model” Part 1 and Part 2.

David L. Smith considered 8 revenue models for Twitter based in part, on things they were already doing.

Kim-Mai Cutler presented 7 possible directions based on case studies of how companies were using the platform at that time.

Skipping ahead to 2011, Patrick Kitano suggested both local and hashtag-focused approaches to monetizing Twitter.

And earlier this year, Dave Copeland pointed out that “Twitter Needs to Find a Way to Monetize Big News Events.”
No doubt I’m just scratching the surface but I think there’s plenty here to use as inspiration for finding revenue models for other companies whether or not we see many of them at Twitter.

Thanks, Twitter watchers!

[Index image: Bad Twitter logos courtesy Twitter.]