Last week I speculated that the new Twitter's native Retweet feature was about search, but it looks like maybe I was wrong; it a may be all about advertising, with search playing a supporting role. Robert Scoble says that at today's TechCrunch Real Time Crunchup, Dick Costolo - Twitter’s COO, said that Twitter will introduce an advertising model. Scoble speculates that this will be done through metadata. He believes the metadata would be revealed when you mouse over a given tweet. I think that the metadata will be used to instantly generate an advertisement and it will be the ad that is revealed when you mouse over the tweet not the metadata.
Your digital camera captures metadata every time you take a picture. In many picture viewers you can see the metadata when you mouse over a picture or when you look at the properties of the picture. Similarly, metadata is currently being captured every time you tweet and this could be easily expanded to capture more data about your tweet.
While Scoble says this could be used to deliver personalized advertising to the originator of the tweet, I say it could be used to deliver targeted advertising to anyone interested in the content of the tweet, and search would help to deliver these tweets to interested parties.
An advertising model could be introduced that instantly generates: "undertweet advertising"
Say I tweet, "I think the Droid will pose significant competition to iPhone [and link]”.
My tweet could be targeted for advertising based on the included metadata and the content of my tweet. When someone mouses over the tweet they would see a link that says "Use this code for 25% off Droid at Verizon" or even a video about the Droid.
The advertiser could simply set criteria for keywords (used in the tweet), location, sentiment (love, hate, rocks, sucks, etc.), reach (based on the size of the network), users influence, etc. and when the criteria are matched the “undertweet advertisement’ is instantly placed.
Twitters native RT feature allows original RT to be passed along with its metadata, and the old system would assign a new set of metadata for each RT and this would ruin the advertising model. This is why I suspect that while search may be part of the reason, advertising may be the main reason.
Costolo says this is advertising that we will love; I am not so sure. What do you think about all this? Let me know here or tweet me @andrewmueller.