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Jul 8, 2008

NEWS: Has Twitter just bought itself a business model?

Has Twitter just bought itself a business model?

Posted by Steve O'Hear @ 7:30 am

Has Twitter just bought itself a business model?A flurry of reports yesterday suggest that Twitter is on the verge of acquiring startup Summize, whose mission “is to search & discover the topics and attitudes expressed within online conversations.”

Right now that translates into a Twitter search engine built on top of Twitter’s public API to enable users to search and track keywords or phrases indexed from Twitter’s public timeline. And, more ambitiously, not just see how often a particular topic gets a mention, but actually ascertain different attitudes and viewpoints, and weight them accordingly.

It’s this technology, says Om Malik, that could pave the way to Twitter finally developing a business model. In particular, Summize’s ability to “geocode public timeline tweets (short messages)”, to allow, for example, “one to find out what people are saying about John McCain in Phoenix vs San Francisco“, that could form the basis of a powerful ad-targeting platform. (ed: confusing surveying with ad targeting.)

Malik explains:

In other words, Summize has come-up with a clever way of peering through Twitter’s vast data stream and finding out what’s hot, where and how. The results are essentially keywords - topic, person or location based - and thus can be used to show contextual advertising next to the pages that show these results. Summize, has thereby developed an ability to monetize conversations without being intrusive. (ed: oxymoron)

And as Malik concludes: “Just as AdSense serendipitously turned Google into a giant cash register, with Summize, Twitter can take first step towards a business model.”

That’s right, Twitter may have bought itself a business model - the holy grail of Web 2.0 :-)

Twitter May Buy Summize

Twitter may buy Virginia-based Summize, a Twitter search engine, says Jason Calacanis. A source close to Twitter says that the two companies have been in discussions around a merger over the last couple of weeks, but won’t comment on whether an actual sale has occurred, or the terms.

The deal certainly makes sense. Unlike rival Friendfeed, Twitter still lacks a search feature. And Twitter has relied on Summize in the recent past to help reduce load on the Twitter API. Summize is also one of (or the only) Twitter partner that has access to their XMPP stream.

Summize employees have recently been spotted at Twitter HQ as well, although that could be explained by the close working relationship.

Summize has raised just $750,000 in an angel round of financing. Twitter has raised over $20 million.

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