Ever since the beginning of Twitter, people have asked how in the world such a platform could be monetized and made profitable. People revealing what they had for breakfast, or telling everyone every inane thought in their head is not something which advertisers are going to open their wallets for. Granted, the quality of tweets over the years has got much better, with major companies and news networks coming on board. But even so, how could Twitter make money without alienating the users and driving them away?
Monetizing social media is, despite what people may think, quite hard. It isn’t a case of “build it and the money will come”. It’s quite easy to go through a few flops before you find something which is really going to resonate with the users and take off in a big way. Twitter has tried various ideas, all with varying degrees of success. They tried “hashtag commerce” with Chirpify, promoted tweets, targeted tweets, and they even partnered up with American Express to offer purchase hashtags and credit card syncing. But none of them really caught the user’s imagination.
But now Twitter may be ready to change all that and introduce an e-commerce platform with a payment processor called Stripe. It is being reported that the plan may be to model the e-commerce platform on a model similar to Square Market, with Twitter providing the e-commerce platform, with Stripe dealing with all the back-end processing. Since Twitter is now a public company, they need to start coming up with some profits soon to satisfy the shareholders.
Just to stress, nothing has been agreed between Twitter and Stripe yet. They are only in negotiations at this present time. But if talks between the two companies falter, one other company reportedly being considered is Paypal.
So, I am sure that by now you want to know a bit more about Stripe, the company daring to take on Paypal in the online payment business. Stripe is a payment system where you can collect credit card information online from customers. But in the era of big websites being hacked and customer information being stolen (I’m not naming any names but I would be talking about places like Target), no credit card and customer information is stored on your servers – everything is sent to Stripe for processing there. In return, Stripe charges 2.9% and 30 cents per transaction.
Here is a very interesting interview conducted by Robert Scoble, where John Collison (co-founder of Stripe) discusses Stripe more in-depth.
Recode is theorizing how Twitter could integrate the platform into Tweets. Will Twitter concentrate on physical items (clothes, electronics, stuff like that) or will digital items be the ones on offer, such as music downloads, movie and TV downloads, ringtones even. If digital goods are the focus, then Twitter could partner up with TV networks, movie studios, sports teams, etc, to offer relevant products as shows, movies and sports events are on in real-time.
Let us know in the comments what you think of all this. Does the proposed new system sound like a sound viable business model to you? Or do you think it is not long for this world?