CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Twitpay brings micropayments to Twitter

An experimental app lets you shoot money over to your friends through Twitter messages. It's not perfect, but something Twitter could use to make a buck or two.

The New York Times has a nice little writeup about Twitpay, an experimental new app that lets you send payments using Twitter.

Here's the premise: Sign up, put some cash in your Twitpay account through another payment service like PayPal, and then send out a "tweet" to another Twitpay member, structured like "@josh twitpay $10 for beers." Twitpay takes a five-cent commission. Its founders are hoping that, eventually, it can be used for charity and disaster relief payments.

It's a nifty idea, though not for everyone. You don't get cash out of it, for example--Twitpay reimburses you in the form of Amazon gift rewards instead. Also, I'm not sure I always want to make it public that I'm letting @josh pay for my beer (don't want my Twitter followers thinking I'm a lush and a mooch), and Twitpay doesn't work with direct messages or friends-only Twitter accounts. You can, however, go to the Twitpay homepage and use that in lieu of a formal tweet.

According to Twitpay's FAQ page, the app was created "because Silicon Alley Insider said it was a billion dollar business (and) a billion dollar business sounded good to us." Indeed, micropayments are a hot topic in the social media world as an alternative to advertising-based models--Facebook has had a payment system in the works for what seems like a zillion years.

And, perhaps, it's something on which Twitter itself, still lacking a concrete business model, could capitalize. The company already bought Summize to power Twitter Search; having a payment system on board could sure help with those marketing promotions that are all the rage these days.