Idealab founder Bill Gross unveiled TweetUp, a search engine for Twitter Monday that will allow people to bid on keywords that can move up tweets in search results. The platform combines a bid-based marketplace with algorithm-based triggers that consider the popularity, relevance and influence of tweets and tweeters.
The system aims to increase the number of followers and improve the quality of Twitter searches by bringing the best tweets up to the top of search results.
The idea is to use an algorithm that includes the tweet's author, number of followers, influence score, how often the tweet gets retweeted and Bit.ly link is followed, and amount the person bids for that tweet to spread across the Internet, explains Bill Gross, TweetUp and Idealab chief executive officer, in a blog post. Pasadena, Calif.-based IdeaLabs, founded in 1996, incubates technology companies.
The keyword could cost 1 cent per impression for a tweet to get a boost on a particular keyword.But if the tweet lacks relevance influence, popularity or other triggers in the algorithm, no bid will become high enough to boost it to the top. TweetUp search will work alongside Twitter's traditional search to provide a variety of results.
With today's unveiling, people can open an account and begin adding search keywords to their profile. The company will provide $100 in credits For the first 1,000 who sign up so they can test the system.
The model closely resembles Google's AdSense and AdWords platforms, and it could trump the money-making business engine the technology world has been waiting to see from Twitter.
TweetUp has already signed several distribution deals that bring the company more than 40 million unique users and more than 500 million monthly impressions.
Gross also created the first model for Internet paid search ads for Goto.com, later renamed Overture, more than 10 years ago, later acquired in 2003 by Yahoo for $1.6 billion.
Back then, search results initially become available through revenue-sharing distribution agreements with Seesmic, Twidroid, TwitterFeed, and Klout, as well as BusinessInsider.com, Answers.com, and PopURLs.
This time around, support for the serial entrepreneur's business comes from a variety of investors. Index Ventures, Betaworks, Revolution, First Round Capital, Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis, and BuzzMachine founder Jeff Jarvis helped make up TweetUp's $3.5 million.