Is Google going to buy Twitter, or not? That's what social networkers are tweeting, commenting and otherwise buzzing about this Friday.
Twitter is a service that lets users stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one question: What are you doing? It's a real-time messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices, including PCs and smartphones. And Facebook would reportedly love to add it to its social-networking services.
In February, Google's debut on Twitter launched speculation that the search giant might be looking to acquire the micro-blogging service. Those rumors died down, only to be rekindled again by TechCrunch blogger Michael Arrington, who cited "two separate people close to the negotiations" saying Google is in late-stage negotiations to acquire Twitter.
Twitter has already rejected an all-stock acquisition offer from Facebook. Despite a recently inked ExecTweets deal with Microsoft, Twitter isn't reporting any revenue yet. The two-year-old company is still building its user base, yet the darling of Silicon Valley has reportedly been valued at $500 million.
Twitter plans to become a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude toward doing business. But contradictory news reports suggest Google is not in late-stage talks to acquire Twitter after all. Rather, it seems the two companies entered product-related discussions around real-time search in recent weeks.
Still, Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said Twitter would make a smart acquisition for either Google or Microsoft. "Few Internet companies rise to this level of visibility with such an interesting range of potential future options," he said. "Indisputably, Twitter is the hottest company around right now -- hotter than Facebook, though with a tiny fraction of the social network's users."
There are ways in which Twitter has already emerged as a more potentially successful marketing and CRM tool than Facebook, Sterling added. So regardless of whether or not Twitter is acquired by Facebook, Google, Microsoft or someone else -- and Sterling said it will probably be acquired sometime during the next six to 12 months -- search engines need to find a way to incorporate Twitter into results.
Pay to Tweet Coming
Twitter's 1,400 percent growth has attracted businesses, and Twitter is preparing revenue-generation possibilities. The company confirmed it's preparing to offer commercial accounts and it expects businesses may be willing to pay for them. Twitter cofounder Biz Stone said a manager has been hired to create the necessary add-ons and the service may be released this year.
Indeed, Twitter has shown its revenue-generating potential. Dell has 28 Twitter accounts, including DellOutlet, Alienware and DellSmBizOffers, and has driven $1 million in revenues by offering Twitter exclusive promotions to its followers. DellOutlet has more than 30,000 followers. For Dell, it's not about winning followers, but about starting conversations, fostering relationships, and building communities. In doing so, the company is building a positive brand awareness in the social-media world.