In February, I predicted that Twitter's data would become so valuable to the likes of Amazon.com
In March, my friend Rick Munarriz predicted that Google
Fast-forward a few months. Google and Twitter have discussed a deal, and investors now value the microblogger at $1 billion. I suppose that's the good news. But neither Rick nor I had this story exactly right; we still don't know why investors chose to pay so much for a slice of Twitter. But we do know that advertising is part of the plan.
On Friday, Twitter Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo told the audience at a TechCrunch event that the microblogger is already making more than $4 million per year and that its long-absent business model is taking shape.
"It will be fascinating. Non-traditional. And people will love it ... It's going to be really cool," TechCrunch reports Costolo as saying.
How to out-ad Google
Blogger Robert Scoble has a theory for what this fascinating approach might be, and it's a doozy. Specifically, he says that Twitter could allow tweets to carry more metadata than they do now, and in the process create a gateway for contextual links.
Metadata is data about data. Twitter shows you metadata when it includes the date and time a tweet was sent, whether it was in reply to someone, and the method used (i.e., website, third-party software, phone, etc.).
"How about a Tweet that talks about a book. Someone could write 'Loved Trust Agents by Brogan.' That could link to Amazon so you could put it on your Kindle," Scoble writes at his blog. How? Via a tag that says "books," or some such. Importantly, such tags wouldn't alter a user's tweetstream in any way.
Scoble calls the idea a "SuperTweet," but I call it good business sense, and a serious threat to Google and its would-be digital advertising challengers, including Microsoft
But I've had my say. Now it's your turn. How much would a contextual ad strategy from Twitter hurt Google and its peers? Please vote in the poll below. You can also sound off in the comments box at the bottom.
Amazon and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is starting a second career as a pro thumb wrestler.