Twitter is coming up with a new revenue-generating stream by way of its @Earlybird account, it seems. If you're a deal seeker, this might be for you.
The fact that Twitter is actively looking for new ways to monetize is public knowledge. For instance, it has already launched over the past two months a series of such revenue-generating services. Promoted tweets, embeddable tweets, sponsored trending topics, Twitter 'Places' (in partnership with Foursquare, Gowalla, Localeze and TomTom), an URL shortener and the acquisition of Smallthought to track tweets' analytics.
Now the chirpy company is launching its own version of a coupons service via its @Earlybird account. According to ReadWriteWeb, who spotted it first, the account will feed its followers (read: opt-in) with shopping deals. As it is today, the account is protected and it's not clear whether it will remain so in the future.
Full Opt-In Service
Were @Earlybird to remain protected, it would make sense. Twitter would be make sure followers are effectively interested and willing to be fed with its shopping deals by adding the extra step to opt-in. But that wouldn't be the only reason why it would make sense. By having users request permission to join the @Earlybird flock, Twitter would be able to see how the demographics fits in with the campaigns - or conversely, it would give it information on which ads/deals it should run by demographic segmentation.
Some Teasing For Marketers
Twitter didn't exactly confirm the @Earlybird plan and purpose but Carolyn Penner, a communications person at the chirpy company, wrote to ReadWriteWeb the following: "There are interesting things in store for @earlybird. Keep waking up early and you might be the first to find out what they are."
So far, 256 people are following @Earlybird, which has been around for around two weeks now. Frankly, it's surprisingly small for such an account, but it will probably pick up more dramatically once the feature is fully and officially launched. Marketers in particular, are expected to be very active on placing their products and offers through the account. Dell is always the point of reference when it comes to boosting sales via Twitter: the computer maker reported in December that it had cashed in $6.5 million in sales thanks to Twitter campaigns spread over two years.
UPDATE: @Earlybird is now accessible as a verified account and Twitter has published a page to explain how it will work. The company is transparent on the fact that @Earlybird is a revenue-generating stream: "we earn revenue through our relationships with advertisers." Although they will come from "large, international brands" for now, the deals that will be pushed to followers will be "focused on the U.S. market" but will expand gradually,it said. As expected, from a mere 256-follower count yesterday, @Earlybird has already skyrocketed to 10 188. And it's only the beginning.