The Milwaukee Bucks have made it official: No more Twittering in the locker room. Coach Scott Skiles laid down the law after one of his star players was caught posting updates to Twitter.com at halftime.
"In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt," forward Charlie Villanueva tweeted. "We're playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up."
Villanueva lived up to his texting, leading the scoring as the Bucks beat the mighty Boston Celtics. It didn't seem to help lighten his coach's wrath.
"Well guys, no more halftime tweets for me -- I'll leave it at that, won't comment on it any further," he tweeted yesterday. "But I still got love for ya. Stay tune."
Amusing anecdotes like this one are making Twitter a "must have" accessory for a dot-com giant like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) . When I suggested that Google would buy Twitter in three weeks -- nearly three weeks ago -- I was only half joking.
My timetable was based on Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) dismissing social networks like Facebook as "faddish" before acquiring a stake in Facebook three weeks later. Google's CEO had referred to Twitter as a poor man's email system, prompting me to start the three-week countdown.
Twitter would look great on Google's arm, but I may be in the minority on that opinion. Sanford Bernstein analysts recently issued a scorching report on Twitter's buyout prospects. A buyer "will likely have to operate it at a loss in perpetuity," they suggest.
Search engines like Google and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) built up their Web traffic before breaking out paid search. Even a subscription model like Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL has been more than willing to cut its paying access customers loose, in the pursuit of online advertising to its mostly free pages and services.
It would not be that difficult to monetize Twitter, especially for a company like Google. Twitter doesn't have to begin charging subscribers for access, a move that would kill the service immediately. It could instead introduce premium subscriptions, offering enhanced tools and better placement for attracting new followers. Even so, Twitter will probably remain a free site for all.
The real gravy rests in advertising, and is there really anyone better at it than Google? Heck, Google can even make Twitter an even bigger viral hit by blending AdSense with Twitter profile pages, allowing Twitterers the ability to opt in to text ads in exchange for a piece of the revenue.
Google didn't seem to mind buying a pre-monetized YouTube, and that site serves up expensive, high-bandwidth video files. Twitter is far easier on the bandwidth bill, but everyone from advertisers to wireless carriers will gladly warm up to its charms.
What are you waiting for, Google? The clock is ticking!
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