Twitter invites all shades of green

March 26, 2009

Twitter is now free for all, but it may not be for much longer. According to co-founder Biz Stone, the micro-blogging site plans to offer commercial accounts for businesses to pay a fee to receive an enhanced version of Twitter starting some time this year.

The move is part of Twitter’s accelerated plan to start seeking revenue in 2009, despite the economic downturn and cutbacks in advertising spending online. The company recently closed a round of venture capital financing pegged at $35 million by media reports, following two earlier funding rounds totaling $20 million. The recent round valued Twitter at $255 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Stone says:

We think there will be opportunities to provide services to commercial entities that help them get even more value out of Twitter. If these services are valuable to companies, we think they may want to pay for them.

We have lots of time for experimentation with regard to revenue generation, so we’ll probably be trying a few different things this year.

Last year, the company turned down a $500 million acquisition offer by Facebook, sources have told Reuters. And some observers think Google might have its eye on Twitter.

Now plenty of people have found fun ways to use Twitter’s 140-character text messages, but this one caught our eye: Researchers at New York University have come up with a way to let thirsty plants Twitter for water. The device called Botanicalls is made of soil-moisture sensors connected to a circuit board. It determines whether moisture levels are too low, or too high, and then transmits a wireless signal to Twitter. Tweets can be personalized to suit the owner, or the type of plant, co-creator Kate Hartman told Reuters.

There’s always a basic “I’m thirsty, could you please water me” message. But they also accelerate in terms of need, so there’s an urgent message: “I’m desperately thirsty, please water me.

Intrigued? Check out Hartman’s ‘Pothos‘ plant, which has more than 2,500 followers.

Keep an eye on:

  • NBC and its partners are close to naming a new chief executive for the Weather Channel: Bill Bolster, a former chief executive at CNBC (New York Times)
  • Over 90 percent of British iPhone users access mobile media, including websites, e-mails, social networks and games, far higher than users of other mobile phones, research showed (Reuters)
  • Nintendo has shipped more than 50 million units of its Wii game console since its launch three years ago (Reuters)
  • iTunes will roll out its variable pricing scheme for hit singles and selected classics on April 7. Apple previously said songs will be priced at 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 (Los Angeles Times)

(Screengrab taken March 26, 2009)

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