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Twitter Needs Your Help to Make Money

There’s a new Viewpoint column about Twitter, over at BusinessWeek. Before I go on, it’s important to note that Viewpoint’s are guest columns, not written by normal BusinessWeek staffers.

Anyway, "The Trouble with Twitter" takes an in-depth look at the money woes at Twitter, in particular its lack of business model. Now, when I say "in-depth," I mean it. In fact, you can safely skip the entire first page–unless you enjoy a little fluff with your morning coffee.

The second page gets to the meat, and has a pretty good analysis of the different types of monetization models Twitter could consider. I’ll summarize the suggested business models:

  • Twitter could ask users to pay
  • Twitter could get messages to pay
  • Twitter could extract money from user data

Personal Life Media Launches Free, Brandable Podcast Widget

We’ve all heard how widgets are going to be a growth area for advertisers, but you’ve probably said to yourself “that’s all very fine and dandy, but I don’t have any content to actually put in a widget!’

Fret no more, dear forward-thinking advertiser because Personal Life Media has just launched a new customizable widget-creator. With it, you create the branded widget, and Personal Life Media will fill it with great audio content. Personal Life Media is headed by social media legend Susan Bratton who tells us, “So many of our sponsors and prospective advertisers requested a way to showcase our content on their site that we created this widget for them.”

So, just how easy is it to create your own branded widget? Just three steps:

Twitter Scraps SMS Updates; Should it Have Offered a Paid Alternative?

I wasn’t going to give Twitter’s "we’re stopping SMS text messages in most countries" announcement much real estate today, then a single comment gave me pause for thought.

First, the background:

Beginning today, Twitter is no longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you have been receiving SMS updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, you’ll notice that they’ve stopped and you may want to explore some of the alternatives we’re suggesting…

…Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass these high fees on to our users.

Twitter Starts Imposing “Following” Limits to Prevent Spam; Your Thoughts?

Just a few days ago, Twitter warned that its new efforts to combat spam would become more noticable over the coming days.

Recently, we’ve seen significant impact by introducing limits around how many accounts can be followed on Twitter under certain conditions. These limits are designed to not affect the vast majority of users. However, some people (who are not spammers) have (and will) run into them.

Those days are here.

Brent Csutoras documents one case where a Twitter account, with 830 followers, and 5,616 updates, was prevented from following more than 2,000 people.

This morning I went to test and see if I could follow more than 2,000 and found that I was still given the error message.

Friendster Focusing on Asia, Gets $20M, ex-Googler as CEO

You may not remember Friendster. It was the leading social network, back when people didn’t really use social networks. It made a few mistakes and let MySpace, Facebook, and just about everyone else, steal its lunch money.

Well, while dead to US audiences, Friendster has maintained strong growth among Asian countries. The last time I read about Friendster, investors weren’t too interested in a failed start-up that was targeting a non-US audience. Well, something must have changed.

Not only has Friendster announced $20 million in new funding, but its also getting a new CEO, Richard Kimber, the regional managing director of South Asia for Google. He’s quite excited (as he should be):

Is Cartier ”Slumming It” on MySpace?

Just to prove that I read other publications than the Wall Street Journal I turned my eye to a stalwart of the new media age, the New York Times. Ok, so it’s just as “old school” as the WSJ but someone has to read these things, right?

So I ran across a pretty interesting application of MySpace by Cartier of all companies. Now, I can never shop with Cartier and in fact I have a hard enough time pronouncing it but this caught my eye. Most recently, it seems that Facebook has been touted as a good option for business applications while MySpace has been relegated to the teeny-bopper space, spammers and well, let’s face facts here, social misfits. (If Andy said it was OK to write that then direct all hostile comments to him directly, thanks). As far as a networking tool I am a LinkedIn fan but that is just for networking and it isn’t really a place to sell products, especially vanity products like jewelry and accessories (I know a little about this stuff because I am married and I have an 11 year old daughter so stop snickering).

69 Year Olds Overrepresented on Social Networks

For Marketing Pilgrim readers who love data – here is a follow-up to Rapleaf’s social media study. The link has a spreadsheet that you can apply formulas to. The study looked at 49.3 million people on social networks and breaks them down by age and gender. This is good to study to look at if you want a general idea where to focus your marketing on a specific social network to a target customer.

The first group post about this talked about how men often have more “friends” on social networks and tend to be on LinkedIn and Flickr. Facebook and MySpace has more women. Men and women on average have 2-25 friends. So if you have more, you’re above average :)

Other Highlights on the Social Media Network Study: