I had to put in my two cents because I really think he's on to something -- but WAY beyond just advertising. Here's my response:
First, the meta-data association is BIG --- way beyond just advertising. Tagging, geo-location, and parent/child info (providing the ability to piece together entire conversations and trends – REAL-TIME), just to name a few, would be enormously useful to Twitter and 3rd-party developers. It would create a mechanism that does not mess with the magical 140 characters, while providing an extension that embraces really useful things today and things that haven’t even been thought of yet.
Addressing the monetization issue, clearly the integration of (multi-tiered) SuperTweet MetaData would benefit any advertising strategy Twitter pursues, and offer an affiliate opportunity for Twitter clients and developers. Twitter has every right to place whatever ads they want within any context they chose, just as the user has every right to ignore them or abandon the service. Twitter’s responsibility for long-term happiness (for all) is to find a balance.
It wasn’t so long ago that nobody would conceive of paying a subscription for the right to push out messages 140 characters at a time. But that was before the phenomenal growth and success of the Twitter ecosystem. There is absolutely a class of Twitter users today that would pay $2.95 per month for additional value add – whether that be no ads, higher control over ads, or premium service/content.
For everyone else, SuperTweet MetaData could help target ads in ways not otherwise available. The problem with web-based ads (a la Google), is that there is too much anonymity for them to be really useful (this is separate from privacy). If I visit a website, the context for ad delivery is the website I am visiting. Twitter, on the other hand, knows the context of the message, the conversation in which the message occurs, the originating sender, distributed recipients, relational association at each step (including location of all), plus any meta data that I may have inserted via preferences, priorities, filters, patterns, and trends – all of which occurs in real-time.
I do not believe the case for SuperTweet MetaData is about advertising, though it certainly has relevance. No, I think the real case for SuperTweet MetaData is that it reinforces Twitter’s position as the center of its universe, extends 3rd-party opportunity by an order of magnitude, and provides Twitter with numerous monetization options – including advertising and subscription revenue.