And so it begins. Finally. Monday marked Twitter’s beginning of its (non-VC) monetization process, as it launched advertising for ExecTweets, sponsored by Microsoft and created by the ad network Federated Media. ExecTweets ( aggregates the feeds of corporate executives, breaking them down by industry. Twitter is receiving an undisclosed sum to endorse and advertise ExecTweets on its site. “This is partially a business model for Twitter, but it's not one of the major legs of the stool,” wrote Federated Media’s John Battelle on his blog. “Federated Media felt that Twitter should share some of the revenue associated with ExecTweets since this project is made possible using their open platform,” wrote Battelle. The financial details of the revenue model have not been


This comes at the perfect time. Nielson recently reported that Twitter grew 1382 percent between February 2008 and February 2009, with more than 7 million monthly visitors.

The ExecTweets announcement comes as the buzz surrounding Twitter approaches its peak. While usage will continue to grow, the next month or two will probably be the height of the mainstream press’ love affair with all things tweeted.

In just the past week, Shaq and Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva made mainstream headlines with halftime tweets (the latter resulting in a Twitter ban by Bucks coach Scott Skiles), and Jennifer Anniston reportedly broke up with boyfriend John Meyer because of his Twitter habit.

The oversaturation of Twitter stories in the media will (hopefully) soon end, but it has been an almost unprecedented boon to the microblogging service. The first few companies who feed into Twitter's revenue stream will benefit from this, recouping their investment in press alone.

It expected that Twitter will roll out its business model some time in 2009. What that model might be remains anybody’s guess, but ExecTweets’ sponsorship adds to the growing list of hypotheticals.

Earlier this month CEO Jason Calacanis offered the microblogging site $250,000 to be a Suggested User for two years, prompting the service to be called “The Next Super Bowl Ad.”

Calacanis believes that the spot would bring him “two to ten million Twitter followers and the ability to drive one to two million visits to Mahalo a month from Twitter.”

By Mark Alvarez