How Much is a Twitter Follower Worth?
Earlier this week, Mashable reported that the dispute between Noah Kravtiz and his former employer PhoneDog, had settled. This case was noteworthy because it was the first time that a party had attempted to put a dollar value on an individual Twitter follower. While writing for PhoneDog, a website that reviews mobile devices and accessories, Kravitz used the handle @phonedog_noah, and accumulated a not-too-shabby 27,000 followers. When he left the company, he kept the same account, and all the followers, and renamed it @noahkravitz. (He claims that PhoneDog had no problem with this, though this was disputed).
PhoneDog eventually sued Kravitz claiming ownership of the account. A post from TheNextWeb from earlier this year describes PhoneDog’s reasoning:
Due to Kravitz’s alleged conduct, “there is decreased traffic to [the] website through the Account, which in turn decreases the number of website pageviews and discourages advertisers from paying for ad inventory on PhoneDog’s website.”
The case gained some attention over the past year. At one point, the value of $2.50 per follower was suggested. Social media experts were worried about the potential effects any ruling could have on work-vs-personal Twitter usage in the future. But the issue will remain a mystery for the time being, as PhoneDog and Kravitz have reached a settlement. No word on the amount, but Kravitz is still using the @noahkravitz handle, so that must have been part of it. The lesson we can learn from all this is best summed up by the man himself, in his statement:
“If anything good has come of this, I hope it’s that other employers and employees can recognize the importance of social media … good contracts and specific work agreements are important, and the responsibility for constructing them lies with both parties.”
Wise words, Mr. Kravitz. Employers, take note.