Twitter celebrity name-dropping reflect novel IPO risk

Oct 05 2013, 15:14 IST
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Among Twitter's other trophy users are the Pope, Oprah Winfrey and Iran's president. (Reuters) Among Twitter's other trophy users are the Pope, Oprah Winfrey and Iran's president. (Reuters)
SummaryAmong Twitter's other trophy users are the Pope, Oprah Winfrey and Iran's president.

Celebrity chief Mario Batali landed on a new promotional platform this week, one that was regulatory rather than razzle-dazzle: the opening pages of Twitter's 234-page document on its initial public offering.

In a prominently featured screen shot of tweets where the American chef offered cooking tips alongside British rock musician Gavin Rossdale, the company showcased the way people express themselves on the online messaging service.

"Use San Marzano tomatoes, cook garlic less?" the American chef proposed in response to Twitter user Susan Mitchell's difficulties with her red sauce. "Could be the basil-too much too long," suggested Rossdale.

Thursday's filing, also displaying tweets from President Barack Obama, the House of Windsor and the National Basketball Association star Kevin Durant, underscores a unique risk factor associated with Twitter Inc's IPO.

Specifically, its business model depends on a rarefied cohort of high-profile movers and shakers to contribute, including "world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes," Twitter explained in its prospectus.

"If users, including influential users, do not continue to contribute content to Twitter, and we are unable to provide users with valuable and timely content, our user base and user engagement may decline," the filing said, warning potential investors that advertisers may move away. Some of the people mentioned in the regulatory filing were flattered.

"I'm quite thrilled to see they still consider it an important moment in Twitter history," Veronica McGregor, a spokeswoman for NASA's Jet Propulsion Labs, said in an email.

McGregor tweeted the discovery of ice on Mars by the Mars Phoenix Lander in 2008, back before Twitter, now eight years old, had broken through to most of the general public.

"I never expected it to be picked up like this, in such an important document," said Rossdale, the lead singer of Bush, in an email to Reuters, about his cameo in Twitter's filing, known as an S-1.


Largely absent from the curated celebrity list in the filing were tweeters who mostly appeal to younger audiences - no Kim Kardashian, the reality star, or singers Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, for example, even though they are all prolific tweeters with millions of followers.

Those omissions are likely very deliberate, in order to avoid giving any type of fly-by-night feeling to the filing, says Joe Fernandez, the chief executive of Klout, a company that measures social-media influence.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the generic, boilerplate warnings about currency fluctuations and litigation, every company has its

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