t.co: Will Twitter charge for statistics?

Every link shared via Twitter will start with http://t.co by the end of this year. That was the gist of one part of an email from Twitter last night. The most important thing for businesses to note is that, with that change, Twitter will start tracking every time a tweeted link is clicked — no matter what shortener, web site, app or client is used to write or read the tweet. Twitter will finally have an accurate way to measure …

  • CLICKS: Using a traditional web analytics program to count the number of times Twitter.com sends traffic to a site, is a gross underestimate of Twitter referrals, because so many people click on tweeted links from applications and web sites other than the official Twitter site. Twitter will process and wrap every link — even links that have already been shortened — within it’s t.co shortener, so they can count every time a link is clicked.
  • IMPRESSIONS: All Twitter applications use the Twitter API, so Twitter knows every time a tweet (and the links within a tweet) is requested. They can’t verify that each request  ends up in the tweet being displayed, but this is the best estimation of impressions, the number of times a tweet is shown.
  • CTR! Since Twitter will have a the number of impressions and the number clicks, they can dived and deliver a fairly accurate clickthrough rate. CTR is used to measure the success of many online ad campaigns.

That kind of information can help shape and measure the return on investment for companies using social media to drive traffic. This is unique information that, if used wisely, can boost an organization’s bottom line. That sounds like the kind of online content for which the Wall Street Journal is able to charge.

What do you think?

Will Twitter start providing these numbers for free, or are they creating the foundation for a new stream of revenue?

Embed a tweet: Comparing an image, Blackbird Pie and QuoteURL

This morning, Twitter’s Robin Sloan (@robinsloan) shared a “hack” that takes the web address of a specific tweet and spits out HTML code to present that tweet on a web page. The name of the tool is Blackbird Pie and you can find it at media.twitter.com/blackbird-pie. Let’s give it a quick try.

First here is a snapshot of my original tweet:

Snapshot of a tweet from @ksablan

Here is a snapshot of the  preview provided by Blackbird Pie.

Snapshot of tweet preview on Blackbird Pie

Finally, here is the tweet coded by Blackbird pie.

Let’s see how Blackbird Pie turns a twitter URL into a tweet in a WordPress blog.less than a minute ago via web

For comparison, here is that same tweet coded by QuoteURL. It’s a great tool, but designed for more than one tweet.

  1. Ben Kessler
    kessler Tomorrow @Twitter will allow you to add any tweet to your site with a snippet of code. Example: – http://bit.ly/9csalG
  2. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan Let’s see how Blackbird Pie turns a twitter URL into a tweet in a WordPress blog.

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Twitter links become newspapers with paper.li

Paper.li examines links that you share on Twitter, and links shared by people you follow, to produce what it calls a “daily newspaper.” The results are mixed but promising for a service that is in its “alpha” stage.

This service is very similar to Twitter Times, which I looked at last year.


You don’t have to be the owner of a Twitter account to create a newspaper, so I decided to make a paper for @tweetmeme, which tracks popular links on Twitter. Here is what Paper.li deduced from links shared by Tweetmeme and the 5,512 users it follows.


You might want to check out newspapers from these other Twitter trend trackers: Twitscoop TrendsTrending Topics and Twitturly.


Contrast trendy papers to a newspaper culled from the links shared by CUNY journalism professor Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) and the people he follows.

Paper.li "newspaper" by @jeffjarvis

Here are daily newspapers from other forward-thinking news people: Clay Shirky (NYU), Mathew Ingram (GigaOM) and Patrick LaForge (New York Times).


Here are some features I would love to see in the next version of Paper.li:

  • Ranking: Stories/posts should be ordered according to the number of my friends who are sharing each link.
  • Lists: Create sections of my paper based on the Twitter lists that I’ve created.
  • Clicks: Watch what I click on. If you see that I frequently click on links shared by a certain user, give that person’s links more weight in the rankings. Maybe create a scoring system.
  • Strike: Let me remove items that don’t interest me. When I remove an item, decrease the score of my friends who shared that link.
  • Edit: I want to modify some of those funky headlines.
  • Timeliness: Since Paper.li is billed as a daily newspaper, you can file this under unreasonable. Still, I would love to see a service that looks at my current stream and presents it in a similar fashion to Paper.li and Twitter Times.