ExecTweets shows Twitter is big on suggestions

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Federated Media’s sleek new Twitter recommendation site,, confirms that giving visibility to certain users may be one path to cash for the famously revenue-free messaging service.

ExecTweets does little more than highlight specific users -- in this case, top business and media executives. If didn’t you know AOL’s Steve Case was tweeting, or Marisa Thalberg of ExecutiveMoms, or Padmasree Warrior of Cisco Systems, well, you do now. According to All Things Digital, Twitter is taking a fee for powering this new Microsoft-sponsored service, and in so doing, poking its first hole in the revenue dam.

Not everyone is going to be ecstatic about the development, however. Critics have already said that Twitter’s entry into the recommendation business may upset the natural ecology of the system (although calling Twitter ‘natural’ somehow seems a stretch), where users once had to struggle to win their own followers. As soon as Twitter began suggesting users, it threw that balance out of whack, granting huge amounts of valuable influence to specific users and leaving everyone else far behind.

Mahalo’s Jason Calacanis put a number on this value this month when he offered Twitter $250,000 for a spot on the suggested list.


But now that Twitter is going this route with Microsoft, the CEOs can save their quarter million each, and sit back and watch as the rich get richer.

-- David Sarno