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Technology

What's a tweet worth? Some Wall Street Twitter stars are trying to find out

In the crowded world of finance twitter, some market analysts are looking for a way to get paid for their tweets.

Bespoke Investment Group co-founders Paul Hickey and Justin Walters, with the help of Centric Digital, quietly launched a paid, private Twitter channel product called Premo Social on July 13. For about $10 or more a month, subscribers can get live market and economic analysis in their
Twitter feeds from Bespoke, Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO and CNBC contributor Josh Brown, T3Live’s Scott Redler or macroeconomics blogger Mark Dow.

“We wanted to come up with a way to distribute our content in the fastest way possible,” Hickey told CNBC. He noted that some of Bespoke’s time-sensitive reports often took too long to reach clients through email, so creating a subscription service on top of Twitter allows for real-time distribution to a large, existing user base.

Premo Social is completely independent from Twitter and the social media company didn’t respond to a request for comment on this article. Premo’s system automates the authorization process for adding new followers to a private Twitter feed, while collecting a fee along the way.

“If a social media platform’s goal is to keep eyeballs, this only enhances that goal,” Hickey said.

Bespoke, Josh Brown and the other initial Premo account holders already have tens of thousands or more followers on Twitter. But the selling point for subscribers is tweets that “avoid some of the more personal stuff” and provide “actionable, thought-provoking” analysis, Hickey said.

While he wouldn’t disclose the number of subscribers, Hickey said initial sign-ups have “exceeded everbody’s expectations so far.”

Like private tweets, Premo Social tweets flow right along with tweets from other accounts. Theoretically, the product could bring more users to Twitter, while giving financial analysts some extra income.

Mark Dow said in a July 24 post on his “Behavioral Macro” blog on Tumblr that he was “pretty happy” when he found Premo Social.

“My public twitter account and blog no longer reward my effort the way they did when I started tweeting, disincentivizing thoughtful output,” Dow wrote. He charges a premium for his private Twitter feed — $30 a month, including the ability to correspond via direct messaging.

However, it’s not clear whether these independent paid feeds or an official paid service one day will help Twitter the company, which reported Thursday an 8 percent slump in advertising revenue to $489 million. Monthly active users were unchanged at 328 million. The stock fell more than 14 percent Thursday.

Michael Pachter, managing director, equity research, at Wedbush Securities, said Premo Social sounded like “a smart idea to allow users to monetize and for Twitter to exploit their user base, but $10 per month seems pretty rich for me for each feed.”

Pachter compared the idea to mobile video games, which failed to convince customers to pay for each game.

A host of online financial tips and analysis websites have sprouted up over the years, some of which have done quite well.

For example, TradingView, launched in September 2011, said it has 2 million active monthly users. The website offers free and paid charting tools for major global markets and digital currencies like bitcoin and ethereum. Users can also post trading ideas, and their ranking in the system grows as more of their ideas prove accurate.

The firm said it generates about $6 million in revenue a year and has 100 employees.

“Professional investors and traders historically had the advantage of great tools & a community of like minded people to bounce ideas off each other. TradingView was born in 2011 to give regular folks the same advantage,” Stan Bokov, co-founder and COO, said in an email.

More than 200 firms annually compete in the Benzinga Fintech Awards for recognizing innovation and excellence in the capital markets industry.

We’re “very keen advocates that this was the right time for this type of model,” said Nick Creegan, product manager for Premo Social. “We’re starting to move out of the phase where people are used to getting everything for free.”

As for Premo Social, it plans to launch paid subscription feeds in the near future on other social media platforms.

That said, the model may not work for other industries.

“The only celebrities who I think have any chance of getting subscribers are those who are giving investment advice,” Pachter said.

Source: Tech CNBC
What's a tweet worth? Some Wall Street Twitter stars are trying to find out

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