Twitter to offer "earlybird" deals

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Twitter is hoping that a stream of time-limited deals and special offers will open up a new revenue stream. The company launched a new @earlybird account this week where the status update mainstay plans to offer special promotions from selected advertisers.

Twitter wants to tap into the stream of special offers and deals that companies are already promoting through their own twitter accounts, according to the Twitter Web site. The goal is to put those deals in a centralized place and encourage users to discover and follow those company accounts.

Twitter has been profitable since 2009, thanks to search deals with Google and Microsoft, and brought in a modest $25 million last year, according to a BusinessWeek report, but the company continues to search for new revenue sources. In April the company launched promoted tweets, and in June it began promoting sponsored keywords in its trending topics section.

With earlybird, Twitter said the offers would often be time-sensitive and be limited by supply. Deals will come from large international-, or U.S.-specific brands, although the company says it plans to explore other markets, including location-based ones such as specific cities, and interest-based ones such as fashion or music.

The company is trying to keep the feed customer-focused, and it’s asking users to reply to @earlybird to suggest offers they would like to see. There are no offers currently posted in the earlybird feed, but users are flocking to follow it. In only two days, the account gathered almost 20,000 followers.