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Twitter out to make money from businesses

By AFP

Micro-blogging sensation Twitter says it is making progress on ways to pump cash from the free service.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone had the blogosphere buzzing anew on Friday with talk of generating revenue from business accounts by year's end.

Stone said early this year that one method could be charging fees for commercial accounts used by businesses to spread messages on Twitter.

In fresh comments apparently aimed at the venture capital community, which has invested tens of millions of dollars in Twitter, Stone told of the potential for premium services such as pulling data from the sea of "tweets."

Twitter, which allows users to pepper one another with messages of 140 characters or less, has seen a dizzying surge in popularity since it was launched in August 2006 but has been unable so far to generate revenue.

Stone's comments quoted in Venture Beat came on the day Twitter announced it is adding location to its globally popular microblogging service in a move that will let people see where "tweets" are coming from.

"We're gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware," Stone said in a message at the San Francisco-based Internet firm's website.

Accurate "tweet-level" location data would let casual users as well as advertisers or businesses track messages based on neighborhood or city.

Outside software developers who create applications for Twitter will be able to experiment with the location API prior to the feature being added to the microblogging service.

Twitter users interested in letting their whereabouts be known will need to activate the new feature, which will be "off" as a default setting. Exact location data will not be stored for extended periods, according to Twitter.

In June, authenticity badges began popping up at Twitter as a way to verify that people tweeting are who they claim to be. Such badges are seen as something businesses might be willing to pay for.

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