Twitter is reportedly floating the idea of starting a service that would offer to make you a "Promoted Tweeter" for a fee. This could conceivably lead to a massive increase in followers. It would be quite the turnaround for the site, which has traditionally discouraged third-party services that promise to increase follower counts.
Twitter began gracing some high profile accounts last year with a spot on their suggested users list. Those that found themselves on the list gained up to 1 million followers. It's not clear how Twitter would promote users that buy into their Promoted Tweeter feature. Would they just show up at the top of search results, or are we looking at a sale of a spot on a new suggested users list?
Just having the most followers may not be worth the cost. Unless Twitter can target certain groups of users, the impact will be lessened. It's best to have a smaller audience of people that care about what you say, than a larger audience of people that just filter you out. Do you think users would see a benefit from a promotion service run by twitter?
Maybe one of the reasons Twitter has been so unreliable lately is that their servers are getting hammered with search requests. This seems to be a valid conclusion based on the news that Twitter's volume of search queries has ballooned 33% in the last few months to about 800 million per day. That works out to 24 million searches per month.
It's hard to gage this number in comparison to traditional search engines, as we don't have any recent numbers. But Bing was only seeing 4.1 billion requests per month in December 2009. One way or the other, Twitter is becoming a huge force in real time search. The issue of real time search has stymied the likes of Google and Bing. It's difficult to find up to the minute information on a search engine, so users are turning more and more to Twitter.
Twitter can expect this number to continue growing, and as such, boost their revenues thanks to sponsored tweets in search results. Now they just need to get the hardware to keep the site running, and they'll be in business. Have you used Twitter to search for something? If so, what for?
Twitter has been having more than its fair share of stability issues this last month. The web service has previously pointed to the World Cup as the cause, but many consider that passing the buck. Twitter has been working on a server upgrade plan during this period of high traffic, and the results are causing more downtime than users have seen in over a year. In order to deal with the network issues, Twitter today cut their API limit dramatically, from 350 per hour to 175.
The API limit puts a cap on how many queries an application can make via the Twitter API in a one hour period. This change effectively reduces the traffic Twitter is likely to see. About 75% of Twitter's total traffic comes in from the API. Even Twitter's branded mobile apps are being forced to deal with the caps.
The decreased rate of 175 is a relief to some; the API cap was slashed to only 75 for a few hours earlier in the day. Twitter's Matt Harris warns that it is entirely possible the limit will have to be lowered again for periods of time in the next few weeks. Are you a heavy Twitter user? Have you run into the API limit just like in the old days?
The internet has greatly accelerated the pace at which news is broken and consumed. The competition is so fierce that a media outlet, howsoever big, is only as good as the last big news it broke. While there was probably never a better time for consuming news, the competition does have its downsides. For instance, media outlets can leave themselves open to sophomoric bloopers in their unrelenting quest for the next big story.
It is something that the DailyMail, Britain's second biggest newspaper, is now well aware of. Yesterday, its website featured a news story titled “Apple Boss Steve Jobs Reveals iPhone 4 May be Recalled.” The article claimed that the iPhone 4 may be recalled owing to many technical issues associated with it. However, the DailyMail had to recall the article instead, after it became clear that it was inspired by a parody Twitter account (ceoSteveJobs).
“We may have to recall the new iPhone. This, I did not expect,” the fake Steve Jobs tweeted on Saturday. To make it an even bigger embarassement for the DailyMail, the impersonator's bio clearly states that it is “a parody account.”
Hackers made a mockery of Twitter's security on a couple of occasions last year – first in January and then in April. The first breach affected 45 accounts, including that of President Barack Obama, and exposed the micro-blogging site's wafer-thin security. The two incidents were enough to draw the Federal Trade Commission's attention, which launched an investigation into the site's security practices.
Twitter has convinced the FTC to call an early end to the probe, allowing it to escape without a penalty. One of the terms of the settlement requires that the micro-blogging site establish a security program and have it reviewed by a neutral party once every year for the next ten years.
The hacker responsible for the first breach was assisted by the fact that the site allowed rapid-fire log-in attempts, making it a sitting duck for a dictionary attack. He used this gaping hole in Twitter's security to hack an employee's account with administrative privileges and a lame password.
Heavy Twitter users living in Toronto who have a habit of posting content a bit more interesting than what they ate for lunch or when they've gone to the bathroom may be able to take to the skies without paying a dime. The offer is a part of a new promotion from Virgin America, which has partnered with Klout, an analytics service that tracks users' influence on the popular microblogging service.
"Virgin America now flies between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles!," the promotional page reads. "Klout is giving away free tickets to influencers to experience this new route. To get started, you simply need to sign in to your Klout Account to see if you qualify."
Those who do will receive free round-trip airfare between Toronto and San Francisco or Los Angeles between June 23 and August 23, 2010, as well as free in-flight Wi-Fi and an invitation to Virgin America's Toronto Launch Event. In return, participants are required to do...nothing.
"If you accept the offer you are not required to do anything," Klout says in its 'Influencer Code of Ethics' section. "We do not want to 'buy' your tweets. You are receiving the product because you are influential and have authority on topics related to the topics. This is a more targeted form of receiving a sample while shopping at the grocery store. You are welcome to tell the world you love the product, you hate the product, or say nothing at all."
If you're a twitter user, you might have noticed the popular social site has been having more downtime than usual this month. According to a new blog post from Twitter, this last month has seen the most Fail Whales since last October. What's to blame for this degradation in service? Well, a big part of it is that everyone and their second cousin is tweeting about the World Cup.
Since the World Cup was a planned event, many have suggested Twitter should have been more prepared. The popular site explains they could never have anticipated the "unprecedented spikes in activity". Twitter says that they are working to make real-time adjustments to their setup to avoid excessive downtime, and a more long-term solution is in the works. How many Fail Whales are you seeing out there?
Looking for a job? Maybe Twitter has a position for you, and about 199 others. Speaking to a reporter after accepting a 2010 Mirrors Award, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that the microblogging service currently employs about 200 people, a number which he expects to double this year.
"We feel like we’ve come exceedingly far in a very short amount of time, and we definitely feel like we’ve reached something, some point," Stone said. "But the key takeaway for us is that now is not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning. Twitter is just getting started, and we have a lot of work to do ahead of us."
Twitter, which is still figuring out how best to cash in on the microblogging craze, has been valued at about $1 billion. In April, Twitter rolled out an advertising service that lets advertisers pay to have their tweets show up in the top of search results.
For the last few weeks, all of Twitter has been laughing along with the @BPGlobalPR account as they cut BP to shreds with their dry wit. Twitter has a policy of allowing parody accounts to continue, but will take action if there is genuine confusion. Apparently BP (the real BP) thinks there might be some confusion. The @BPGlobalPR account posted yesterday, "Not sure what we've done wrong, but we've been asked to change our name/profile to indicate that we're 'fake."
Twitter confirmed that BP did ask for the change. "BP requested that the account holder be asked to comply with Twitter's guidelines regarding parody," said Twitter's Sean Garrett. Twitter often asks that popular parody accounts add words like 'fake' to their name to avoid confusion. The new Bio on the Twitter page says, "We are not associated with Beyond Petroleum, the company that has been destroying the Gulf of Mexico for 51 days."
Sources indicate BP is unlikely to try to have the account shut down. At this point, @BPGlobalPR may have become too popular. It currently has an order of magnitude more followers than the real BP.
For the past few months, Twitter has been routing links within Direct Messages through its own link service and wrapping them with a twt.tl URL. By doing so, Twitter has been able to blacklist malicious links, and now the microblogging service wants to extend this functionality to all tweets.
Not just for security reasons, Twitter also recognizes that there isn't yet a way to automatically shorten URLs, leaving it up to users to manage long links on their own with third party services like TinyURL and Bit.ly.
"To meet both of these goals, we're taking small steps to expand the link service currently available in Direct Messages to links shared through all tweets," Twitter stated in a blog post. "We're testing this link service now with a few Twitter employee accounts."
Twitter said it will roll out the service to non-employees later this summer. When it does, long links will be shortened and wrapped with http://t.co/____.