Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Another Twitter Business That Doesn’t Make Money for Twitter: Pay Per Twitterer


One day I’ll get to stop writing this, because Twitter is slowly starting to sketch out some revenue plans.

But for now, it still holds true: Almost all of the money Twitter is generating is being generated by companies other than Twitter. They’re members of the growing ecosystem of companies that base their business on the microblogging service, but don’t pay Twitter a dime.

Here’s another one: Pontiflex, a lead-generation start-up that hoovers up names and other info from users who visit its network of publishers and then sells the data to marketers. The Brooklyn-based company is rolling out a Twitter product that lets marketers compile a list of interested Twitter users.

travel_twitter_captureSound simple? It is. All Pontiflex is doing is adding a Twitter “handle” field to its lead-generation forms (see example at right). Armed with these data, a marketer can follow Twitterers who say they’re interested in their products, and…not much else.

Since the users aren’t actually signing up to “follow” any of the marketers, said marketers can’t send them direct messages. The marketers could try to “at reply” their leads–the equivalent of shouting out the name of someone you think might be at a loud cocktail party but can’t actually see. But that’s about it.

So what’s that information worth? Depends, says Pontiflex CEO¬†Zephrin Lasker. Probably more than an email address, but less than a phone number. He says pricing will depend on clients, volume, etc., but he figures he’ll be able to sell each Twitter handle to his consumer packaged goods clients for a couple bucks a pop. Call it anywhere from 50 cents to $5 per name.

Per usual, Twitter won’t see a penny of that.

Like most other Twitter ecosystem ideas, this one only works if Twitter really crosses over from novelty to mainstream and stays there.¬†And the jury’s still out on that.

But in the meantime, marketers want in on the new hotness, and Lasker is happy to oblige.

“This is one of those things that people don’t know how to participate in, but they want to be there,” he says. “So, that’s where we can help.”

Also, just because we’re talking about leads, and I use any excuse I can get, here’s Alec Baldwin’s awesome “Always Be Closing” speech from “Glengarry Glen Ross.” (Warning! Contains salty sales language.)