Bloomberg BusinessWeek said Twitter is earning some $25 million from agreements to let Google and Microsoft index its tweets, helping the microblog service become profitable as 2009 draws to a close. Despite its best efforts to keep its financial terms with Google and Microsoft quiet, Twitter is getting $15 million from Google and $10 million from Microsoft Bing. That Twitter is profitable is big news in itself because it points to the viability of a social network that in September banked $100 million in funding, valuing the Web services startup at $1 billion.
Twitter is raking in some $25 million from agreements to
let Google and Microsoft index its tweets, pushing the microblog service into
profitability, according to a
Bloomberg BusinessWeek report
Twitter will earn $15 million from Google and $10 million
from Microsoft Bing, according to the report, which cited sources who asked for
anonymity because the terms of Twitter's deals with both companies are closely
Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and
Google search executives such as Marissa Mayer, vice president of search and
user experience, have been asked several times about terms of the agreements. All
have steadfastly declined to discuss the particulars.
Microsoft kicked off
this movement Oct. 21 by announcing that it would index Twitter
tweets on a special site called Bin Twitter. Google's Mayer said
the company would also serve users Twitter content, but said it would take a couple months to
come to fruition and declined to provide other details.
Google's data deal with Twitter came to light Dec. 7 when
the company said it
was indexing tweets and other content in real time. Google also
integrated Twitter data into its
service and Google Search Appliance
Still, questions persisted about how much money Twitter
was making from those deals because it was the closest tangible thing Twitter
that pointed to a viable revenue stream: charging
companies for access to its Firehose API, which corrals the millions of tweets
that stream into the site daily.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek said these deals are multi-year
agreements that will allow Twitter to make a modest profit in 2009 at a time
when its operating costs are a reported $20 million to $25 million per year.
That Twitter is profitable is big news in itself because
it points to the viability of a social network that banked $100 million
in funding, valuing the company at $1 billion.
Twitter plans to offer online
advertising, which could prove wildly successful considering that companies such as Dell have
made millions of dollars
promoting products on the microblog,
Nor has the company yet offered commercial accounts for
businesses, offering businesses
analytics and promotional tools for fees.
Twitter did strike deals
with Citysearch and UrbanSpoon, though Citysearch said no money is
exchanging hands for such integration deals.
Through all of this, 2009 was Twitter's busiest year in
terms of innovation. The company added Twitter Lists
to let users curate content and created a Geolocation API
to help boost the platform's relevance.
in 2010 will preside over
Chirp, its first developer conference, to celebrate the new technologies and those built by third-party programmers.