Silicon Valley's watching Twitter to see whether and how it turns its popularity into profits.
The social media site's new terms of servicehave everything to do with the goal of improving the service and starting a revenue stream. Most notably, the terms outline that the Services Twitter provides "may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the Content or information on the Services, queries made through the Services, or other information." Bottom line, if you post on Twitter, they can put related ads on your posts.
Get ready for a new market for targeted advertising. Major companies from JetBlue to Dell are already using the site to monitor consumer opinion, they'll surely want to use it to reach Twitter's audience of pop culture savvy early adopters.
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Twitter is also trying to make sure its service isn't misused, namely by Spammers, which would quickly render it annoying and turn off users. New "Twitter Rules" outline extensively what's not allowed, which is pretty broad. No impersonation, no privacy or trademark violation, no copyright infringement, no violence, threats, unlawful use, or misuse of Twitter's verified account badge. Spam restrictions go on and on, and of course there's to be no pornography.
These are a grown up set of fully-lawyered rules - a sign that the company is really growing up. Skeptics of Twitter's future should check out the paragraphs and paragraphs of legalese. Despite co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams insistence that they're just building a great service and will worry about the rest later, this makes it clear that they have a plan and they're just around the corner from a real revenue stream.
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