Twitter’s monetization plan (or lack of one) has long been criticized, but Fred Wilson, one of the company’s early investors and strongest advocates, is still drinking the Kool-Aid.
The company is a lot closer to monetization than most people think, he said in an interview on stage at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in New York. “I’m feeling very good about Twitter right now,” he added.
One way Twitter is expected to make money is advertising, and it may buy its way into the technology it needs to execute. In comments that likely perked up the ears of adtech entrepreneurs across the Web, Wilson told interviewer Erick Schoenfeld that Twitter’s next “hole to be filled” by acquisition may be advertising.
“Advertising is one area which Twitter has a lot of specific plans for, and they’ve been reasonably transparent about their strategies in advertising. It may be that there are some ad companies out there that are headed for . . .”
Twitter recently acquired Tweetdeck, a third-party desktop Twitter platform, for $50 million. Previous acquisitions include Fluthera Q&A collective; Smallthought Systems and Dabble, two database apps; Cloudhopper, a mobile messaging company; Atebits, maker of Tweetie; Mixer Labs, a location engine; and Summize, an online review crawler.
When asked if it may be discouraging for entrepreneurs building a company on Twitter’s API to know the company could “pull the rug” out from their efforts at any time, Wilson quipped, “I have a saying. Don’t be a Google bitch, don’t be a Facebook bitch, don’t be a Twitter bitch. Be your own bitch.”
The question remains as to whether the openness of Twitter’s platform could negatively affect its ability to monetize. Wilson said that on the scale of open to closed API, Twitter is more open than Facebook and Apple’s platforms, but less open than Android’s. Twitter’s potential to monetize its platform falls on that same scale. “Anywhere on that spectrum is OK,” he said. “You just have to decide where you want to be on it.”