I already said in an earlier post how Salesforce's introduction of a Twitter application on its business software platform validates the power of cloud computing. But what about the power of Twitter? The announcement equally validates the idea that customer service can be enhanced by short 140-character messages that anyone on the Internet can see.
So what is Twitter getting in exchange for its use as a tool to enhance customer service operations on salesforce?
Not one penny.
Today's announcement isn't some sort of deal or partnership between Salesforce and Twitter. Executives and lawyers from both companies didn't sit down at a table to hammer out a licensing deal for a certain amount of money. Instead, Salesforce is just tapping into Twitter data that's available on the public Internet using its search API.
I understand all of "open Internet" thinking out there and can appreciate that Twitter is giving away the ability to search through and filter out tweets through TwitterSearch and is encouraging the development of apps through its search API. But this is also a company in need of a revenue plan. In fact, the public is so anxious to hear about a Twitter revenue plan that a blog post about the launch of premium services spread like crazy last week until it was revealed that it was a hoax.
Also see: Twitter: A fine 'pre-business' but un-monetizable and a deadly acquisition target
But before I continue down this path of criticism of Twitter and starting asking the same "How will Twitter make money?" question that everyone else is asking, I'll remind myself that investors have said that Twitter will reveal a revenue model in the first half of this year.
Seeing how we're in the tail end of the first quarter now, I'll be looking forward to some sort of news in the next 90 days or so. I'll also remind myself that I applauded Twitter back in November for rejecting an offer of $500 million in Facebook stock based on what what Twitter considered to be an inflated valuation.
I've been a longtime Twitter user but just recently upped my microblogging game. I am sending more tweets and following more people and coming across interesting news stories from a variety of sources by tapping into Twitter. (Of course, I'm also doing that with no money out of my own pocket.) I would hate to see Twitter end up in the dot-com graveyard along so many other business ideas that could never generate revenue during the last tech wave.
For the moment, I remain optimistic. But I'm also watching the calendar in anticipation of this revenue model announcement promised for the first half of 2009.