Twitter Soaring Near All-Time High As It Profits Off Your Web History

by Brian Solomon, Forbes Staff

Twitter stock jumped to a near all-time high Monday, briefly gaining over 10% and flirting with the $50 share price mark it hit during its hot IPO a month ago. The stock increase came as Twitter is on a news roll: delivering new ad products, electing its first female board member, and petitioning the government to put limits on surveillance.

At the 4pm EST market close, Twitter stock finished up 9.43% to $49.19. Competitors Facebook and Google GOOG +0.75%, by contrast, were up less than 2% on the day.

Although there’s no obvious cause for Monday’s huge jump, there are a series of smaller developments. Most prominent was an announcement last Thursday that Twitter would begin to sell more targeted ads. These would be individually-tailored cookie-based ads that take advantage of knowing their users’ web histories. Marketers will be able to highlight potential customers by seeing if they previously visited a website. Presumably, Twitter will be able to charge higher ad rates for more relevant “tailored audiences.”

Twitter also recently announced the launch of a text-based service for people to access Twitter who don’t have internet access. This could expand the company’s reach into places where smartphones and high-speed wireless networks are less common.

Meanwhile, Twitter named Marjorie Scardino to their board of directors . The former CEO of media company Pearson PSO -0.42% is the first female member on Twitter’s board. The appointment eased some criticism directed at Twitter over its lack of gender diversity among its corporate governors.

Twitter also partnered with other tech companies like Facebook and Google GOOG +0.75% to issue an open letter to President Obama arguing for limits on government surveillance. “The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual — rights that are enshrined in our Constitution,” the letter reads. “This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.”

Finally, Twitter released the secret correspondence it conducted with the SEC before leading up to its IPO. The series of letters addressed various disclosure questions, as the SEC pushed Twitter to provide revenue figures per timeline view in the United States vs. worldwide as well as information about the ratio of spam accounts on the site.

Follow Brian on Facebook and Twitter.

full story: http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2013/12/09/twitter-soaring-near-all-time-high-as-it-profits-off-your-web-history/

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