The online coupon business is booming and the reason for its recent boost in success is 100% related to the economy. On the one hand customers have less money and need to shop for the best deals they can find. On the other hand retailers want to spend money on marketing while being able to generate a direct pay back. Online coupons are the beneficiaries of these trends. To give you an idea of how hot this market is, one company in the space, Groupon has been so successful; they have encouraged a wave of group-buying Chinese startups.
I often have conversations with people in the tech industry about Twitter and social media in general. In the B2B space, it seems that getting any sort of ROI from social media is tough to measure. Still other business leaders swear bysocial networking as a valuable marketing tool. Companies like Facebook know this and are doing their best to leverage new tools to get businesses hooked on their platform.
One company early to Twitter was Dell who uses the service to send coupons to customers. So with this in mind, Twitter is looking to monetize its site and has launched a new user name @earlybird which is focused on bringing coupons to the masses. As of this writing, this account is adding about 1,000 new users per hour. This is a far cry from Lebron James who added well over 100,000 users in a day but it's still respectable. And yes the company will take a percentage of the sale items it promotes.
For those people wondering how and if Twitter would be able to monetize their site they should be very happy that the company is not standing still. But to really start flying high it needs to get rid of the dreaded and frequent fail whale messages.