Many have tried to start a company that puts your Twitter status updates on a tee shirt, but the end results have been largely dismal. It’s a tricky concept to pin down in a revenue-generating model when you’re merely a third party service.
But Threadless may have figured something out. In partnership with Twitter, Threadless the company that made t-shirts social, launches Twitter Tees today. And the best thing about this new project is that it keeps the community around Twitter and Threadless intact.
Twitter Tees works by submitting a tweet to be considered for the next contest, where others can vote the tweet up or down. Logging in with your Twitter credentials will enable you to submit your tweet and also access submitted tweets of your friends. The winner does indeed get prize money. If you nominate a tweet that was created by someone else, the original Twitter user will be notified and approval must be given before the tweet can be used in the contest. This particular aspect of the approval process is a good safeguard against ownership and copyright issues, something that hindered others such as Twitshirt from having a successful launch.
The Threadless contests for Twitter Tees, which run weekly, are still at the core of this new project. What this means is that the new service is not a place to have your tweets turned into t-shirts. There are no “one-off” printing options, and the community voting still applies. Lucky for you, the integration of Twitter into Twitter Tees makes it that much easier for you to spread the word about your nominations.
While details of the partnership have not been revealed, we do wonder at the revenue-generating potential of such an idea. If it were to make money, now would be a good time, given the mainstream coverage of Twitter and our undeniable attraction to snarky, pop culture tees. I have a tendency to feel that Twitter could make some amount revenue with several smaller projects such as this, so I’m anxious to see the future for Threadless and the way in which Twitter handles this particular project.