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Showing posts from May, 2011

How Twitter 2.0 will make money

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. This is the second of two articles on likely changes to Twitter. The first article focused on consumer-facing changes to Twitter and this one focuses on monetization.

Twitter has experienced tremendous traffic growth, and more importantly has permeated into the collective consciousness with constant Twitter quotes by news organizations and entertainers. Twitter’s valuation has gone up as people expect it to monetize its traction with both consumers and brands. Here are a few of the features that would seriously inflect the Twitter revenue curve.



Bring on the banners
Twitter has struggled to scale advertising revenue, because like most social sites it tries to inflict strange ad units on both its users and advertisers. From the users’ perspective, things like promoted tweets or Facebook’s social ads are intrusive to their content experience. From the advertisers’ perspective, they can’t use their normal ad units and track results the normal …

Here comes Twitter 2.0

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This post was also published in VentureBeat.This is the first of two articles on likely changes to Twitter. This article focuses on changes to Twitter’s consumer-facing side and the second article focuses on Twitter monetization.

Twitter reportedly acquired TweetDeck today, and that’s likely to be the first of many changes. There is a broad consensus that Twitter had stalled out in terms of product innovation, , which even creator Jack Dorsey noted upon his return to Twitter as head of product. With Dorsey’s return, we should expect more changes, and very quickly.

BusinessInsider recently suggested that Twitter only has 21 million active users, and a lot more people who read of those users’ tweets. While at first blush this number may look really bad, it is actually an indicator that Twitter has matured. Twitter is a microblogging platform, and has followed the same trajectory as blogs. At first, everyone blogged. Now only a few blogs really matter.



Consumers want Twitter to be their…

LinkedIn IPO: It’s only a bubble when Grandma can buy in

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. LinkedIn’s massive 2x pop this morning when it went public reflects that everyone, including the underwriters, seriously underestimated the demand for the shares. There was a time, especially during the .com, when underwriters such as Morgan Stanley would attempt to artificially go out the door with a low price in order to create a pop, but companies going public nowadays are much more sophisticated and discerning about leaving so much money on the table.

So why is there so much pent up demand? It is not just, as Jim Kramer claims, the limited number of shares. Hot, second wave Internet companies are taking a long time to go public and the stock is only available to a select few. Only accredited investors could invest in hot Silicon Valley companies through secondary exchanges like SecondMarket. On top of that, early stage investors and management are much more patient due to the liquidity gained through secondary markets and the willingne…

Can social commerce catch up with email?

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This post was also published in VentureBeat. Although many are heralding the advent of “social commerce”, the biggest e-commerce wave of the last couple of years has in fact used the most basic Internet technology. Enormously successful deals companies such as Groupon, LivingSocial, and Gilt Groupe send simple e-mails. Users click through those emails to a single landing page whose only goal is to get users to hit “Buy”.

There is no innovative technology at play here, rather a simple email op-in that asks consumers what regions or products they are interested in when they join the mailing list. Although Groupon likes to tout its tipping point algorithm where a certain number of users have to purchase in order for a deal to happen, there is such volume that all deals go through, every time. Net net, nothing social going on here.

The social revolution has made brands think they can invert how people think. Sure brand ambassadors are great, but they are few and few between, and lots of …