I recently posted on Intervangelist about Ushahidi, the crowdsourcing website that grew from a simple Kenyan post-election-violence inspired project to an international success. Despite being a not-for-profit entity, it still gave us a very good lesson on Building first, then money later. Well, in comes Twitter.

I woke up to the news that Twitter is finally launching its Advertising platform. 4 years after it first came into our lives, Twitter was yet to show any signs of monetizing its traffic. So strategically did it position itself as the company of the future, that investors kept pouring money into it, hoping to get a piece of what would be the next Google-like success story.

I do admit that the profitability of Twitter was evident long before it hit the 30 million user milestone. Having a valuation of 1 Billion dollars before your business makes a cent can only be described as phenomenal.

So why this Viral growth? Let me look at it from a subjective angle.

Twitter is a simple, useful tool. It doesn’t get in my way, keeps me up to date, Connects me to people who matter and  everyone i know seems to be using it, so why not me? This is probably the same reason you use it too.

I have written about Twitter before, trying to explain it to those who do not fathom its concept at all.

Their advertising model is also quite ingenious. Twitter is trying as much as possible to ensure that your tweeting experience will not change at all when adverts start showing up in your stream. No banner ads at all, and unlike Google Adwords and Yahoo Ads, the paid search results will appear within the organic listing, only ranked higher. As long as it is contenxtual i.e related to the conversations i am searching for, and doesn’t come in the way of the tweets i really wanted to see in the first place, i am perfectly fine with it.

Of course like every other successful online business, Twitter will also allow third party developers to show ads and share revenue. If you want to receive, you need to learn how to give. I’m not pointing any fingers.

After Mark Zuckerberg, i think we all know who will be in the next forbes list.


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