Twitter and its CEO Dick Costolo may be open to an alternative source of revenue in the future after all: Ecommerce.
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During an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Costolo suggested that the company is considering ways to "participate" in transactions that take place on the social network.
“It’s particularly interesting in areas where you’ve got things like perishable inventory, like tickets,” Costolo told CNBC in response to a question about ways Twitter could potentially grow its business. “We observe that and are paying attention to that, and are thinking about the kinds of ways we could participate in that value exchange.”
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Even just the suggestion that Twitter might be looking into e-commerce options represents a significant about-face for Costolo from a few months ago. At the AllThingsD media conference in January, Costolo shot down any plans to go this route by noting that, "We don't feel like we need to add another component to the business."
In the time since then, Twitter has focused on building up its suite of advertising products -- Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts -- by rolling these features out to dozens more countries and giving advertisers additional tools to better target specific users. These efforts appear to be paying off for the company, as it's expected to generate more than $1 billion in annual ad revenue by 2014.
Of course, just because ad revenue is growing doesn't mean Twitter should ignore other potential sources of revenue.
While Costolo didn't offer much in the way of detail in the CNBC interview about how Twitter might approach Ecommerce, he has suggested in the past that there's an opportunity for Twitter to make it easier for businesses to sell tickets and other limited-time items through tweets. Twitter could then potentially take a cut of these transactions.
Twitter briefly dabbled in the Ecommerce space back in 2010 with its Early Bird initiative. Twitter promoted limited-time discounts from retailers from an @EarlyBird account and earned revenue from the sales. However, this effort was shut down after just a few months.
Do you think Twitter should try again to make Ecommerce work? Let us know in the comments.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Joi
This story originally published on Mashable here.