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Build the product, nevermind the business model. That’s been the mantra for many a successful startup.
TweetDeck founder Iain Dodsworth, who just sold his company to Twitter for a reported $40 million, had a “big fear” of efforts to “monetise users and drive them away”.
“I never had an intention of charging for TweetDeck because it’s a piece of software that I built, first and foremost, for myself, to solve my problems,” Dodsworth said in an interview on BBC Radio 5live Tuesday morning.
“If i see too much advertising, I turn off – it’s to the detriment of the quality of the product. I raised funding for this company just so I didn’t have to throw adverts at people and put them off.
“But you can’t run a business for very long on funding without looking toward monetisation.” TweetDeck could serve content based on what it has learned users are interested in, Dodsworth said.
“We’ve thought about this. If we were to put a World Cup column, sponsored by brand X, that seems a title bit more sophisticated than just slapping a banner ad right in front of you and distracint you. Because this audience is so savvy, whilst they won’t stand for certain low-quality advertising, they are interested in high quality.”
TweetDeck took about $300,000 in funding from Accelerator Group and others in 2009, followed by a $3.5 million round by Betaworks, Ranny Rimer and others in 2010.
Twitter says it is buying TweetDeck for its “power” users. It didn’t say whether it would actually serve sponsored tweet columns in this way.