According to a Tweet from All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka, this morning, Twitter COO Dick Costolo said that Twitter will be “setting aside” its EarlyBird program, which partnered with retailers and e-commerce companies to offer discounted deals to Twitter users. The announcement appears to have been made in New York at the IAB MIXX conference.
It’s, of course, unclear what “setting aside,” means but clearly Twitter is re-evaluating the promotion. The idea behind EarlyBird was fairly simple. Twitter partnered with advertisers to distribute offers via the @EarlyBird account, and they get to determine the terms of the offer, including availability, amount, and pricing. Deals are published via the @EarlyBird handle several times a week.
The initiative ended up being mixed bag in terms of quality deals. The first deal was two-for-one tickets to the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” an average movie. A 32″ Vizio HDTV from Target was offered for $349.99 but was available for the same price on other electronics sites. But EarlyBird caught the worm with a JetBlue offer; Twitter offered users a 20% discount which led to 1,000 ticket sales within the first 10 hours.
But Twitter seemed to be trying to think of innovative ways to market EarlyBird, including the possibility of serving deals based on real-time conversation. EarlyBird product manager Shiva Rajaraman told us in July that he envisioned a system that will track company and sector trends for advertising partners. The partners could then work with Twitter to quickly deploy deals based around trending conversations and emerging demand.
As we wrote above, It’s unclear what Twitter will be doing with EarlyBird; “setting aside” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s shutting down. Twitter could simply be refocusing its direction with the deals initiative.