Sci-Fi author William Gibson once said that while Facebook is like the mall, Twitter is like the street. If that’s the case, an in-stream payment service called Chirpify is setting up a virtual hot dog stand on Twitter as we speak. Make that a moving library.
To buy the book, readers hit “reply” to a specially coded Tweet with the word “buy” in the text to enter the payment system and download the eBook.
Is Twitter a viable platform for selling goods? The microblogging site didn’t make a single dent in Black Friday sales, which collectively drew only 0.34 percent of referral sales and 0.84 percent of referral traffic from social media sites overall, according to a study by IBM.
But the public nature of Twitter makes Chirpify’s pay button easy to track. A quick scan on the Twitter aggregator Storify turned up four or five orders that had already been placed. (Storify doesn’t catch everything, so this just an observation, not a definitive count).
A Chirpify representative said that this will be the first time anyone has sold an eBook in-stream on Twitter, so barriers may indeed be smashed.