Who’s paying for my information?

October 26, 2009


twootersoftLast week at the Web 2.0 summit, Microsoft and Google announced the integration of Twitter’s search results into their search streams, effectively pushing their customer experiences closer to real time. While on the surface this seems to be a benefit for users of their services, the preceding weeks surfaced some confounding positions by the two software juggernauts, namely the submission to pay Twitter for access to their information and, therefore, mine (and yours if you use a non-protected Twitter account).

Clearly there are multiple angles one could take in response to this movement. I for one am still on the fence as to my position…so let’s review some of the gestating ideas:

  • Google has fought copyright lawsuits in the past for indexing content. Now they’ve set a precedent and demonstrated that they’re willing to pay to index content. This could potentially be leveraged against them in future or ongoing lawsuits.
  • Microsoft, on the other hand, has paid to index content in the past. Is this another sign of Google chasing the tail lights of Microsoft, which seems to be more prevalent these days?
  • Conspiracy theory angle: Google wants to digitize and tag all the world’s information. This is another step down that path. Should we expect to see Google pay to index Facebook, MySpace, etc.? What are the implications of having the world’s social data at your disposal? Also, does indexing social content devalue the ‘closed’ social network over time?
  • What will including paid content do to the integrity of search rankings? If you’re paying to index content, you’d want to make sure it was delivered enough to justify the purchase, right?
  • As Twitter data makes its way into direct search results and also starts influencing ranking signals, SEO success will become inextricably linked to Twitter success (a practice that Justin calls SSO). Should we expect that Ashton Kutcher will become the king of SEO as he current sits atop the largest twitter following? If so, what impact will that have on his relationships?

As we each grow our own social influence through creating content on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter and creating a following within those channels; are we seeing the growth of social capital as a new means of wealth in modern day marketing? What are your thoughts?


Jascha, great post…but let me ask a different question – how much are they paying, and when will you and I see our checks!

From Scott Hoffman on October 26th, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by kaykas: Who’s paying for your (and my) information? http://bit.ly/iZ6hW

From uberVU - social comments on October 26th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Scott, when people such as yourself (influencers) continue to grow your fans/following it would seem reasonable to question if/when you should be getting compensated. It makes it a very difficult proposition for Twitter to consider charging a premium for their service. As for how much they paid…I haven’t yet seen any figures bubble up…but when I do i’ll be sure to write about.

From jascha kaykas-wolff on October 26th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Have you played with the experimental search yet? When I did it earlier today I noticed that the SERP’s with the Twitter & blog data were included as additional results beyond the regular number of results, and were separated out into a new category. I think this might work more like Universal search.

Interesting stuff though.

From Cory Huff on October 27th, 2009 at 2:07 am

Corey, I haven’t yet but it’s safe to assume that these musings of mine aren’t just from me. I’m hopeful that the Googles/Microsoft’s of the world address the potential implications upfront. We’ll see…and be watching.

From jascha kaykas-wolff on October 27th, 2009 at 3:14 am

Share Your Mind:

Fatal error: Call to undefined function aktt_sidebar_tweets() in /home/petitcou/public_html/marketingiteration/wp-content/themes/iterate/footer.php on line 2