In yet another attempt to make Twitter (a company valued at about $1 billion) profitable, the company has launched the @EarlyBird “username,” which will tweet special deals from retailers. Those retailers—who, according to Twitter, will be selectively vetted for quality—will pay for the honor. Although the company has a whole page on @EarlyBird listed in its Help Center, the tool hasn’t launched yet.
How Does @EarlyBird Work, And Is It Lame?
There’s pretty much no explanation needed: @EarlyBird will work the same way as other usernames. If you follow it, you’ll receive its tweets as part of your feed; word has it that many deals will be for limited timeframes. (Yeah, its name is apropos.) The thing I don’t understand, however, is how this feed will be substantially different from other companies’ feeds. As we’ve discussed in the past, lots of companies offer deals on their Twitter pages. On one hand, the official version might act as a sort of best-of edition, but the truth is that it probably won’t be the best of Twitter deals—it’ll be the companies that pay for it.
It’s Like Groupon And Gilt Groupe On Twitter. Wait, Aren’t They Already Tweeting?
Twitter is toying with the idea of region- and genre-specific deals (read: beauty deals in Miami, etc.), so it’ll be a huge asset to have an audience that actually wants to receive these deals. Still, sample sale sites like Groupon and Gilt Groupe get their power from exclusivity and high-end appeal. Even if Twitter offers these deals for limited times only in order to make them seem more elite, the hard truth is that Twitter is not Gilt Groupe.
It’s Nice To Let Users Opt In To Ads, But That Might Not Bring In The Most Profits.
Look, I shouldn’t complain—I’m happy enough not to be slammed with ads every time I log in to my Twitter account, and I love the idea that it’s my choice. I haven’t seen these deals yet, and maybe they’re awesome. But, provided that they’re largely just advertiser-fueled tweets, I’m not totally convinced that this will be enough to monetize the behemoth company that, as of yet, isn’t turning the profit everyone thinks it could.
Moral Of The Story: Follow @EarlyBird If You Like Deals, But Don’t Expect Huge Waves.
If you like special deal sites like discount code providers, sites that help you do social buying, and others, then definitely follow @EarlyBird on Twitter. But, just remember that these are featured deals and that advertisers are paying to be featured. I don’t actually expect these to be the best deals on the internet—and I don’t actually expect this effort alone to singlehandedly make Twitter profitable—but, sure, might as well give it a try.