Pay With A Tweet – A Social Payment System

by Russ Jones on June 24, 2010

in ECommerce, Ecommerce Payments, Russ Jones, Social Payments, Web 2.0 in Financial Services

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“Pay with a Tweet – A social payment system.” These aren’t my words. Instead, it is the name of a new payment concept developed by an interactive advertising agency called Innovative Thunder. Given the work we’ve been doing on social payments here at Glenbrook, we had to investigate this one.

Here’s how it works. A seller registers a URL with Pay with a Tweet that points to some digital content they want to sell, and attaches a tweet to the URL. When a potential buyer comes along, they just click on the “Pay with a Tweet” button which tweets the seller’s message from the buyer and then provides the buyer with access to the underlying digital goods.

Innovative Thunder’s observation, which I happen to agree with, is that sometimes the value of people talking about your product is much higher than the money you would get if you sold it directly. You can’t make “one million dollars” selling things this way, but I can see how it might jump start viral interest in a video or a book, etc.

From a payments perspective, Pay with a Tweet is consistent with the offer-based payments model that is so popular with social media and game sites today. The difference is that instead of accepting an offer in exchange for the goods, you simply tweet the seller’s viral message in exchange for the goods.

Some have quibbled with us whether or not offer-based payment systems are actually, well, payment systems. People point out, after all, that often times no payment is involved. But I disagree with this narrow definition. From the seller’s perspective, offer-based payment providers are just one more alternative payment method.  The seller gets settlement funds on a regular basis (from the marketer that provided the special offer or survey that the buyer agreed to participate in via the offer-based payment system), transactions have to be reconciled, there are fees to be paid, disputes have to be managed, fraud has to be managed, etc. Large sellers sometime use offer-based payment as one more form of payment — small sellers sometimes use them as their exclusive form of revenue. It works both ways, and it feels like payments to me.

Where I draw the line, however, is when there is no actual money involved. So based on the power vested in me as a Payments Views blogger and Glenbrook payments consultant, I’m going to hereby amend my thinking on social payments. Rule number one is that any payment system — even social payment systems — must involve moving money between people!

Pay with a Tweet doesn’t involve money. So it might be more appropriately called “Market with a Tweet.”

2 Responses to “Pay With A Tweet – A Social Payment System”

  1. Karl Jenkins says:

    More accurate name might be “Pay via Spam.”

    If your friends list is overloaded on a social network site, this might just be the ticket for thinning the ranks. Someone could do some analysis about the number of resultant “Unsubscribe” or “Unfriend” requests that go out immediately after a “Pay via Spam” message.

  2. Susan Grewal says:

    I really like this concept of paying by a tweet for companies or advertisers but these tweet might spoil the whole stream with too much useless tweets

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