„Sell your soul on twitter “ or how to find new business models in the recommendation age

What I was asking myself today was, if publisher would be willing to pay for inbound links. There are several reasons for a clear „yes“:

  1. e-commerce sites know how to calculate their traffic-earnings coming from the conversions in their shops
  2. news-publisher know what they get for their visits, by selling volume-based ads

Now, wouldn’t that be a smart way to monetize services like twitter. I mean, twitter is more or less a recommendation tool to guide your friends to articles or sites you find interesting.

Take e.g. the URL shortening services out there – why can’t I register with them, and earn money for every user (my followers) who click on that link? Money comes from sites who are willing to pay for traffic. Let them bid in an auction against each other, who is willing to pay more for your click.

The cash could be splittet:

  1. Main part goes to the user, posting the link
  2. One part goes to the „selling“ service
  3. And one part goes to the underlaying service (like twitter, etc.)

Of course, the quality of incoming traffic is key in the question, if publishers are willing to pay – but quality is measurable e.g. through conversion rate. Publishers can rate their users, paying them nothing (or just less) for „bad traffic“ and more for „good“ traffic.

UPDATE:Fred Wilson seems to be of my opinion, and has it very nice illustrated