Twitter, the ubiquitous microblogging platform, has investors worried because, despite its popularity as a life-streaming application, it isn’t clear how the service can make money. Although the company is experimenting with ads in Japan, there is some concern that U.S. users would reject ads on the site.
Another possibility, though, is the use of Twitter as a marketing platform. SMS Text News recently reported on an interesting use of Twitter by a marketer at Boingo:
Pat Phelan is bored out of his skull waiting for his flight at the fancy new Heathrow Terminal 5. How do I know? He Twittered this. Well, an enterprising person at Boingo Wireless (also using Twitter) decided to use his/her initiative and make Pat an offer of a free wifi pass:
Best ever use of Twitter for business @boingo saw that I was delayed in Heathrow and offered me a free wifi logon, really cool
Why isn’t facilitating these kinds of interactions Twitter’s business model? Since users like this sort of thing, Twitter wouldn’t take any kind of hit from them, and I’m sure marketers and customer service workers would be thrilled to have an easy way of connecting with customers who are in a jam. Twitter could could then take a small percentage of resulting transactions, or just a few pennies as a “finder’s fee,” similar to the eBay model.