What next - Twitter ego searches?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · July 16, 2008 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2fa

The implications of real-time search and Summize deal

(Editor's note: This post was updated to include Jack's pitch. Watch for Jack's interview with Vator.tv next week.)

Twitter confirmed that it bought Summize for an undisclosed sum, as noted in Twitter co-founder Biz Stone's blog post. The price tag is $15 million in mostly stock, according to Silicon Alley Insider. It's hard to determine whether it's stock well spent, but suffice it to say, on the surface it looks like a good acquisition, based on Summize's search engine, which is already integrated into Twitter search.

Here's a few points of interest:

Twitter is now the place to go to find out "who's talking about you or your company [in 140 characters]." It's yet another ego search the Internet generation will be doing, I"m sure.

Twitter is now another voyeuristic tool to find who's talking about whom. 

Twitter just bought a company with an obvious business model, paid search - something that is tried and true.

Companies with no business model - like Twitter - can actually make double-digit million dollar acquisitions. 

Companies that raise $15 million - like Twitter - can make an acquisition for $15 million, especially when the acquisition is in stock and the valuation of the acquirer is $95 million.

I'm interviewing Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey on Wednesday.

Here's what people are saying about Jack on Twitter search.



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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from Twitter.com, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within Twitter.com, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on Virginamerica.com that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.