Twitter Hires Head Of Commerce, Ramping Up For $1 Billion In 2014

Twitter wants to get a piece of mobile commerce. The service known for letting users post messages of 140 characters or less has hired Nathan Hubbard, a former president of Ticketmaster, as its first head of commerce, Bloomberg reported.

Hubbard will be responsible for Twitter's plans to offer retailers tools for selling goods and services inside tweets. Twitter won't sell merchandise itself, but will team with merchants and payment service providers and may take a percentage of any transactions on its site.

While not all tweets are through mobile devices, 71 percent of Twitter users use the service through mobile devices, compared with 64 percent using desktop or laptop PCs, according to a study by Strategy Analytics.

Twitter-based retail would also provide the company with more data on users' online-shopping habits and preferences, which Twitter can use to attract more advertisers. Twitter will have an estimated $580 million in ad sales this year, but is aiming at $1 billion in revenue in 2014 for ads, merchandise sales through tweets, and other income. In August, Twitter also announced it is working with researcher Datalogix to track when Promoted Tweets (Twitter's term for ads on its service) lead to purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.

Part of the reason behind the focus on increasing revenue is to position Twitter to become a publicly traded company, a move that's expected by the end of 2014. That's also why Twitter is staying away from both selling merchandise itself or offering payments, and instead serve as the middle man who collects a small piece of each deal. Of course, that only works in cases where Twitter has specifically licensed the merchants or payment providers to work on the service. In April, it shut down two experimental payment approaches that were going on without corporate's blessing, on grounds that the payment efforts were violating Twitter's terms of use.

For more:

- See this Bloomberg story
- See this Business Insider story

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