Twitter’s Business Model: featured links? Probably not.

A new site called ExecTweets launched recently. It aggregates tweets from executives, and organizes them by industry. For example, you can see tweets from the tech industry’s top execs here. This is very much in line with the kind of thing I expected Twitter to launch as a way to monetize their service. Except that Twitter didn’t launch ExecTweets, Federated Media did.

VentureBeat wrote about the site today and claims that FM and its partner Microsoft are going to pay Twitter for a featured link on the Twitter site:

…FM and Microsoft are undoubtedly paying Twitter a pretty penny to launch their service in this featured area.

So how much? Well, Federated Media won’t say exactly, but it did bring up revenue sharing. “We can’t talk about terms of the deal, but we did want to share some of the revenue with Twitter to support them,” Federated Media’s John Battelle tells me.

How generous of FM.

Seriously, that’s it? That’s the business model? I really doubt it. I think VentureBeat is trying a bit too hard to nail the “we know what Twitter’s business model is” story. I have to believe that Twitter has more planned than a lousy link on the main interface. Which, thanks to the Twitter API and mobile clients, probably won’t be seen by most users anyway.

I still think Twitter will make money by somehow helping businesses (and potentially individuals willing to pay) make sense of the noise, but I don’t think they’ll do that by simply featuring links to sites built by others. TechCrunch posted today about job openings at Twitter, noting the focus on Search and the Platform API which I think supports my theory.

So far I’ve seen featured links for Twitter’s widgets, Twitter Search, and Tweetie (did they pay?). None for ExecTweets.

What do you think? Is this really the start of Twitter’s business model?