Twitter may launch a "Buy now" button to increase revenue

James Martin/CNET

Several tweets featuring a "Buy now" button underneath product images surfaced temporarily on Twitter, Recode reported Monday.

The tweets, which no longer appear in the form captured by Recode, gave a possible glimpse into Twitter's plans for creating a new revenue source. So far, the social media site has relied on sponsored tweets, essentially advertising, to make money, but Wall Street wants more.

The series of tweets showcased products from Fancy, a social media site that includes links to retailers. Searching for the tweets, CNET found that the purchase button has been replaced by a "Get Fancy app" button. We've contacted Twitter and will update if we hear back.

Plenty of social media sites, including Fancy, are trying their hands at social shopping. Remember Facebook's failed Facebook Gifts? The online store that let users send physical gifts through their timelines ultimately flopped. Other social media sites, like the fashion-centric Polyvore, have long had a buy button attached to users' postings. The image-heavy site has found success in this model.

While Twitter's text-friendly form may seem less likely to attract shoppers, the interest from brands has been growing. Startup Chirpify has been running shopping campaigns on several social media sites, including Twitter, allowing users to purchase items by simply tweeting a keyword.

Amazon stirred up some interest earlier this year when it launched a similar shopping feature on Twitter. The e-commerce giant now lets users put things in their shopping carts by tweeting #AmazonCart in response to any tweets with an Amazon product link.

It's unclear if the purchase button will be become a regular occurrence on Twitter. The company is clearly still very dedicated to its main revenue stream -- advertising -- given its recent acquisition of yet another mobile advertising firm.

CNET's Ian Sherr contributed to this report. This article originally appeared on CNET.

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    Donna Tam is a staff writer for CNET News and a native of San Francisco. She enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail, and reading on her Kindle. Before landing at CNET, she wrote for daily newspapers, including the Oakland Tribune, The Spokesman-Review, and the Eureka Times-Standard.

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