Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why We All Want to be Britney Spears on Twitter...

Before you start rolling your eyes, let me re-assure you that The Nerfherder is NOT becoming a paparazzi-style tabloid.

That said, there is some news that deserves to be analyzed from an online business perspective... Britney Spears is now on Twitter.

There is something remarkable about this (and it's not the pretty dull messages that Britney's been texting to her Twitter account). As Michael Arrington has reported, there may be a huge business opportunity in the idea of celebrities and "supertwitterers" being able to monetize their presence on social-networking websites.

For example, Arrington asks, "what is it worth to Pepsi for Britney to twitter 'drinking a pepsi' to 1M followers?". Product placement is a potential goldmine, both for the social-networking websites (who could get a commission) as well as the celebrities and supertwitterers themselves, who could easily incorporate a few advertising plugs into their status updates without being as obnoxious or invasive as the Facebook-style system of forcing ads on readers. From a marketing perspective, it would probably be more effective too.

And why stop there? Who says only celebrities and people with a few thousand "friends" or "followers" should be able to cash in? If Twitter, Facebook, and the rest would open up their doors to everyone, then we'd all have the chance to make a little money by choosing exactly which products, companies, or even political candidates to endorse. This would add extra incentive for people to create high-quality content and, again, would market the products far better than the highly flawed and untargeted advertising systems that currently exist online.

If internet startups would stop being so concerned with their command-and-control approaches, they might realize that their best chance for discovering a profit-generating business model would be to let their users experiment and choose their own.

We all want to be Britney Spears.


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