I wanted to test a theory about autofollowing on Twitter, so I went to Google to find a script or a service that would follow people for my account automatically based on keywords and I was amazed at not only the fact most of the charged for the service, but how much they charged.
Twollow charges $15 a month to follow people based on 5 keywords. Five. You want 10? It'll cost you 20 bucks a month.
I find this shocking because the Twitter API is free and I wrote an auto follow script of my own in about an hour. Granted, I bill my time at well over 20 bucks a month, but it wouldn't take long for me to get ten customers to pay me 20 bucks each to cover my time.
I call it a gold rush because it's still new and clients don't know that there are easy ways to incorporate this kind of stuff into their own web tools -- I'm not saying that dropping 40 bucks for a couple months isn't worth it; it's certainly cheaper than home rolling your own script, but this is the kind of stuff that the geeks are usually giving away for free, which maybe I'll do...
But at the end of the day, it always bugs me when I see short sighted business models (Twollow has an annual plan, but who's to say Twitter won't change their API in the next 12 months?) taking advantage of businesses who aren't planning ahead, have no strategy and are just rushing into the hills hoping to strike some gold.