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Twitter Bringing Revenue This Year, Not Charging Businesses Yet

news_headlines001This week, there’s been a flurry of news about Twitter’s business plans. Okay, so Twitter’s business plans have been the subject of news for months, but this time it looked like Twitter was about to come out with a revenue model: charging businesses for certain add-on services.

Some people took this to mean that they would charge big brands for using the service in the first place, a claim that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone takes to task on the Twitter Blog. So, just to be clear, even though we reported this correctly earlier this week, I’m going to say it again:

Twitter is not going to charge anyone to tweet

Its basic service has always been and will always be free, as Stone asserts:

Twitter to Charge Businesses?

The co-founder of Twitter Biz Stone has confirmed that Twitter plans to charge businesses for extra services. There are few details or dates. But that’s the question in all of our minds—especially the investors who put $20 million into Twitter and I assume want to see a return.

No doubt Twitter has proven its value—TechCrunch wrote that Dell made a million over the holidays by using Twitter to tell people about discounts and sales.

There are said to be anywhere from 4 million to 6 million people using Twitter (LinkedIn.com is said to have over 20 million users and turn a profit). The problem with monetizing social networks is that people don’t go there to buy, but to communicate. Plus, they’re used to getting everything free. Even Dell’s VP was quoted as saying that Twitter better keep it simple and inexpensive if they do plan to charge.

Analysis of the Little Gordon Campaign for Caterer.com

By Kevin Palmer

One of my favorite things about social media is to see how marketers use it and to examine the strategies that are behind a campaign. Last fall Totaljobs Group Ltd ran a campaign for one of their properties Caterer.com. The concept of the campaign was a video series about Little Gordon (videos contain strong language), a play on the reality television show cooking host and star chef Gordon Ramsey. The campaign hit the right marks with these videos. They look really good, they are concise, they have a tinge of controversy but most of all they are funny.

3 Ways Our Government is Using Social Media

by Regis Hadiaris

In a recent Twitterview with Advertising Age‘s Pete Blackshaw, Andrew Wilson at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shared a practical view of how government is using social media.

Social Media Lessons from Andrew (AndrewPWilson on Twitter):

  1. Listen—it’s the first step in social media. HHS is trying to understand the tools, what is being said, and how they can contribute to the conversation.
  2. Develop meaningful relationships. Just like Andrew learned when working with farmers in the Peace Corps, personal connections are immensly valuable.  Technology is simply a facilitator of those connections.
  3. Follow the leaders. Andrew points out that the Centers for Disease Control and AIDS.gov are both doing tremendous work in social media.

Personally, I think it’s important to note that all of Andrew’s interactions so far have been positive.  We’ll see how the HHS team evolves and responds to adversity over time.  As most of us already know, the social web can be an amazingly helpful, and sometimes unforgiving, place.

Microsoft Premieres Celeb Site, Wonderwall

No word yet on whether champagne supernovae were served at red carpet event.*

Microsoft’s latest last-ditch-looking effort actually looks pretty good, as BoomTown notes. Today they unveil a new celebrity site, Wonderwall, with subtle MSN branding, a cool layout and plenty of ad space.

wonderwall

The site was designed by BermanBraun Interactive. Its main showcase, shown above, is pretty cool—a side-to-side scrolling “wall” grid of celebrity photos with headlines. Mouseover the headlines and short story excerpts pop up. Click on these, and
what I can only assume is the eponymous “wonderwall” splits open to add the full story, also side-to-side scrolling, in the middle of the wall:

wonderwall-open

Below are short lists of recent headlines, features and celebrities.

Stalk Your Friends with Google’s Latitude

latitude-urhereSeriously—do you know where your friends are right now? Do you want to know? Because with Google’s new Latitude mobile app, you can access the GPS information in your participating friends’ phones. And lest you think Google is making it hard for you to keep tabs on your friends’ every move, they’re incorporating a boat load of other popular products:

  • Gadget on iGoogle (Latitude gadget for your personalized homepage)
  • Text messaging (SMS) through Latitude
  • IMing with Google Talk and Latitude
  • Emailing with Gmail and Latitude
  • Updating your Gmail/Gtalk status message on the go with Latitude
  • Uploading new profile photos on the go with Latitude (we have profile photos?)

Fake Social Media Profiles: The Biggest Online Threat of 2009?

ReadWriteWeb reports that security firm Aladdin released their Annual Threat Report today, one of the biggest online identity theft threats of 2009 will be fake social media profiles. I don’t expect that to surprise any of Marketing Pilgrim’s readers, I do, however, expect it to come as a surprise to most of our clients and the less “Web savvy.”

Evil people are heading out to popular social media sites and setting up fake profiles and abusing those profiles. They are pretending to be someone in order to create valuable connections, and in some cases, to hurt online reputations. Director of Aladdin’s Attack Intelligence Research Center, Ian Amit, says this type of identity theft can be “devastating, both on the personal level by creating difficulties in employment, ruining social and professional connections, damaging reputations; as well as on a financial level, such as stealing customers, corporate data.”