Here’s an interesting debate on what might seem to be Twitter’s efforts to push the message that it is a profit-making company via Jay Yarow of Business Insider:
More Twitter PR the day before earnings. This time about how it makes money. https://t.co/sK5krw4Fmg
— Jay Yarow (@jyarow) February 4, 2015
The issue? The above piece went live on Medium, which was founded by Evan Williams of Twitter. In it, Steven Levy of WIRED and other publications relies primarily on internal sources — including Williams himself — to argue that “the business end of the company has been nailing its targets, and its revenue team is the envy of the industry.”
The story also went live the day before Twitter’s annual earnings report — and its announcement that it would increase its value to advertisers by “syndicating promoted tweets” on third-party mobile-ready properties like Yahoo and Flipboard.
Here’s a qualifier:
“Williams is still on Twitter’s board of directors — and, I should disclose, he is also the CEO of Medium, which makes him my boss.”
So is this piece investigative journalism, or is it a work of public relations?
Investor/writer Om Malik of GigaOM is NOT impressed:
— Om Malik (@om) February 4, 2015
Another hot take from Evelyn Rusli of The Wall Street Journal:
— Evelyn Rusli (@EvelynRusli) February 4, 2015
For the record, Levy himself brushes it all off:
Never surprised at sniping on @twitter.
— Steven Levy (@StevenLevy) February 4, 2015
The above exchange is not incredibly flattering to the company, but it certainly piques our interest: has a notoriously unprofitable business finally turned the corner?