By now you have likely heard that Dell “made a million dollars using Twitter”. If not, here is the story. Does that mean you could do the same?
Sadly, the truth is Twitter didn’t make Dell any money, their offers that Twitter followers clicked through and bought up made Dell the money, Twitter was just the conduit for the messages. It’s quite possible that the same offers sent through RSS or email would have made the company more money.
It does though show a potential for making your twitter use profitable.
Gather and engage your audience, then send targeted and compelling offers. The medium changes but the approach isn’t all that different from decades of direct marketing.
While this is a workable plan for Twitter users, people are making the connection to a road to profitability for Twitter the company. It could work but there is a difference between “person I have followed sends me offers” to “service inserts commercial messages into my stream”.
Dell has a strong enough relationship with followers, and people opt-in to hear what they have to say. Twitter will have to be careful about inserting unsolicited advertising into streams.
Another approach would be for Twitter to replace TinyUrl as the default linking service with a more commercial one. This would mean people who send traffic would be in effect generating the company revenue, which leads me to a thought. Twittertising (twitter+advertising, heh) as I am calling it that might polarize opinion if the users are seen as being, well, used.
Should Twitter users get a share? Would you be more for the idea if you got a cut based on the ratio of followers you have? Scoble could make a lot of money, but probably at the risk of losing some popularity. What do you think?