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How Will Twitter Monetize Search If It’s Broken?

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imageThe hype around Twitter’s utility as a real-time search tool has even rubbed off on *Google*, but there are signs that the startup’s plans to turn search into a revenue stream could be more difficult to attain than first thought.

Using searches for tweets from high-profile users like Oprah that fail to return accurate results, concludes that Twitter’s search engine is “very, very broken.” The implication is that the startup is having trouble indexing the constant flow of data its getting from its (steadily increasing) user base. It’s not just him. Dozens of other users have noted that their tweets either aren’t showing up in the search results or that the results don’t crawl back far enough; I even noticed that Twitter search was failing to update for about an hour during our EconSM conference last week.

Of course, no tech company is immune from glitches — *Google* itself has had a number of product meltdowns in the past few months (one as recently as last week). Twitter’s problem is that users, developers, potential paying customers, and even possible buyers are glued to its every move right now, so it’s not being granted the free pass that most startups get when it comes to growing pains. Popularity bias aside, if Twitter can’t reassure users that its search results are reliable, then the possibility of monetizing those results goes out the window.

Photo Credit: jmilles

3 Responses to “How Will Twitter Monetize Search If It’s Broken?”

  1. It is also not clear how relevant their search results are at this point of time. The don't sort results by relevance but most recent results first. Spammers manipulate search results for trending topics. The search results may be real-time but the totally utility is pretty low at this point of time.

  2. jenkins

    this is a complete farse. Twitter is NOT a search engine. This is clever PR hype to get MSN or Google to write a check to monetize the traffic. Google would be crazy to pay them much.

    Here's something that no one talks about: Will Twitter traffic convert well for advertisers? I bet you the answer is a big fat: NO!