Commentary

Bill Gross Unveils Search Bidding Marketplace For Twitter

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.

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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.

 Tweetup

2 comments about "Bill Gross Unveils Search Bidding Marketplace For Twitter".
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  1. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, April 12, 2010 at 2:13 p.m.

    None of the Twitter influence sites grab conceptualization sadly. And while number of followers is relevant when someone tweets there is only a chance (10-20%) that each followers will see the tweet. This is a function of how many accounts your followers are each following. For each 100 accounts you follow = about 400 tweets per day flowing through your live feed.

    As for paying to come up in the search results, this can have value but I never use search. If I was a brand using search to listen for feedback etc the random results will possibly have more value than the paid results. Will be interesting to see how this pans out in utility.

  2. Marcus Pratt from Mediasmith, Inc, April 12, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.

    Howie G make a good point. People quote "impressions" through Twitter, but this usually assumes that everyone reads every tweet of those they follow.

    Impression estimates may be more accurate for search results, but I'm still suspect when people refer to Twitter impressions.

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