Twitter Squared: Places & Payments

15 Nov

It’s been awhile now since Twitter began allowing users to tweet their location via its Places feature, but now it looks like the company is taking Places a step further with a feature that lets businesses “claim” a location or place.

The “claiming” of Places page could be a sign that Twitter is getting serious about competing in the geo-location space currently dominated by Facebook and Foursquare. It could give businesses a new avenue to promote themselves on Twitter, and it could also lead to new revenue possibilities for the microblogging service.

It creates much speculation about what Twitter plans to do with its Place pages? Is Twitter planning to launch a deals feature of its own?

According to officials at Twitter however “Places is not available at this time. We’re experimenting with a variety features. Allowing businesses to claim a Place is a natural thing to consider for the future.”

Being able to claim a place on Twitter would seem to suggest that the company is thinking about adding to their offering. Google, Facebook, and Foursquare all allow venue-owners to claim their places.

The real game here is around location-based analytics and ultimately new streams of revenue.  Many big brands are already on Twitter with full-time community managers in place to respond to every tweet pro or con.

So, what if Twitter did actually allow businesses to claim their Places? Let’s think for a moment what could happen if this was coupled with Jack Dorsey’s (co-founder of Twitter) other new company – Square?

Square was unveiled last December as a small credit card reader that could turn any iPhone into a mobile cash register. The startup has since unveiled apps for the iPad, Android and iPhone. And Dorsey brought on PayPal and Slide veteran Keith Rabois as General Manager in August.

So where is Square seeing the most traction? Without a doubt, small businesses, independent workers and merchants comprise most of Square’s rapidly growing user base. The technology only requires its tiny credit card scanner that fits into your audio jack and Square’s app. The device and the software are free, but Square takes a small percentage of each transaction (2.75% plus 15 cents for swiped transactions).

While merchants have to qualify for the app, Square’s qualification rules are more relaxed than those of standard credit card processors, There are no initiation fees, monthly minimums, and when merchants apply for a reader, Square doesn’t just focus on a credit check, but also takes into account the influence a company holds on Yelp, Twitter or Facebook.

Rabois says that Square is the “PayPal for the real world.” He also compares Square as the “Apple for financial services,” because it is so easy to use out of the box.

So, you’re a small or medium business.  You can claim you Place online, manage the social messaging promotion through Twitter, and process your payments through a small device plugged into your existing phone.  No additional hardware and low transaction fees.

Seem likes a match made in heaven, and all brought to you by one company – Twitter

I like to think of Jack Dorsey like a modern day John Chambers – outsource R&D by seeding a whole bunch of complimentary start-ups and once they’re ready – just roll them into the mothership.

Now if only I could get a Square to use hear in Canada for our events at the LBMA – life would be great!

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