Twitter Tests E-Commerce With "Earlybird"

If you're a fan of social buying sites like Groupon or BuyWithMe, you'll want to keep an eye on Twitter now, too. Here's why.

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 You're probably familiar with the "Groupons" of the world—social buying sites that offer deals on everything from oil changes to spa treatments, provided a certain number of people commit to purchasing it.

Today Twitter joined this trend with the launch of @earlybird Exclusive Offers, a Twitter account that will promote time-bound deals, sneak-peaks and events exclusively for its followers.

[For more on social buying sites, read Social Buying Sites: How to Get All Offers in One E-mail.]

To receive alerts on these deals, Twitter users will need to follow the @earlybird account. @Earlybird will tweet the deals, which will appear in your stream, just like any other tweet from users you follow.

At first, Twitter will be partnering with with select advertisers—large international brands, it says—to develop offers solely for the Twitter community. These brands will determine the price, quantity for sale and the duration of the deal. Twitter, in turn, will earn a cut of the money that the brand brings in from sales.

While many of the initial deals will target only the U.S. market, Twitter says it hopes to roll out location-based deals in the future, allowing you to search by city. Twitter also hints at expanding its deals to specific categories you can subscribe to, such as music or fashion. Expect to see these deals live on @earlybird soon, Twitter says.

What do you think about Twitter's foray into e-commerce? Will you subscribe?

Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

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