Twitter's @earlybird harnesses power of social networking for special offers

Twitter has decided to use its unparalleled social-media influence and networking insight to bring you, er, special offers with a service called @earlybird

Twitter has decided to use its unparalleled social-media influence and networking insight to bring you, er, special offers. @earlybird is a rather tacky service designed to claw back a smidgeon of the company's stratospheric investment.

The money-grubbing wheeze is as simple as it sounds: companies pay Twitter to advertise time-sensitive discounts, coupons and other offers on the account.

The deals will be US-centric to begin with, but it could be extended to other countries if successful. All kinds of offers will appear on the account, but Twitter could start specific earlybirds for concert tickets, travel or any other category.

The service reflects a current trend in ecommerce, as the New York Times points out, for limited number and deal of the day sites such as Groupon and Woot, which was this week bought by Amazon.

The initiative comes a few months after Twitter announced promoted tweets, which is essentially display advertising on certain search terms.

There's no real reason for us to be so snarky about this -- we don't have to follow the account and we show advertising too, after all. It's just disappointing that a company as far-sighted and well engineered as Twitter has to resort to something so mundane, when we'd have thought all the data it has access to is so much more valuable. Perhaps a pro-level system with guaranteed uptime and an attached analytics package?

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