20
Mar
09

More on Calcanis’ offer to buy Twitter followers: straight from the horse’s mouth

Most of you would have seen the big brouhaha around Jason Calacanis’s offer few weeks back to Twitter . He offered to pay them $250,000 to be one of the ‘suggested users’ that noobs are presented with when they first sign up for Twitter and are looking to get started. Getting on that suggested user list is a great way to significantly boost your number of online followers (if thats what you’re looking to do) but exactly how people get on there is quite mysterious.

Image Courtesy of TechCrunch

Anyway, on Calacanis’ mailing list today, he wrote about why he made the offer, the potential payoff, and then ups the anti by doubling the amount- rather than cutting and pasting the entire email, I’ve uploaded it in a HTML document for you to read – Jason Calcanis talks about his offer to buy followers from twitter.

My thoughts:

Calcanis is cunning as hell! I have to hand it to him on this, he’s probably generated alot of new Mahalo users out of the press he’s generated here, and all it really cost him in the end was the 30 seconds or so it took to thumb in a few tweets on his mobile. Now upping the anti with a higher offer will just generate more press – the dude is an animal!

But I also have to give major props to the team at Twitter for standing their ground. One thing about defining your product offering is it is very good for business to be able to add to it, but can be very detrimental to take away from that offering, particulalry if the part of the service you take away is one people find very useful. The folks at Twitter know this only too well – removing the SMS push functionality from twitter about 12 months back saw bitching and moaning from Twitterers ripple across the entire social network. If they sell a spot on the ‘suggested follows’ list to Calcanis, they potentially open the floodgates. Selling spots on this list to corporate accounts, who are only looking to build followers and not necessarily deliver good content, is a surefire way to turn new users off Twitter. Twitter are taking their time and making sure they control exactly what happens with their revenue and growth plans – and I respect them even more for not taking easy money in a knee jerk reaction.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next… I’m guessing it’ll keep people talking for a bit and then fizz out. But I’m interested to know, what do you think? If you had $250,000 for a twitter campaign, would you blow it on a spot in the suggested users slot, or are there better ways to leverage that sort of spending clout?

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