Google, Just Buy Twitter Already

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.

Time's a-wastin'
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.

Hogwash.

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!

More stories to brush up for the feeding frenzy:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz embraces disruptions and lives for opportunities. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. You can find him on Twitter as @market. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has its own Twitter feed and a very patient disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2009, at 5:41 PM, jackdaniels08 wrote:

    Google and Twitter make Glitter (the quality of shining with a bright reflected light )

  • Report this Comment On March 18, 2009, at 6:58 PM, dotdotdotdot wrote:

    Google owns the "then" or past of the net, the and Twitter owns the "now", the instant internet. Google could easily monetize Twitter and keep it free.

    Twitter is a separate and distinct piece of the net that Google would be crazy not to buy.

    That said, the public loves Twitter, they could probably IPO with a more robust team on a sunnier day in the financial markets, a beacon of hope.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 4:04 PM, stockpile28 wrote:

    Go throw some water on your face ok ?

    Twitter's a joke.

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