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Twitter Grows Up, Adds "Promoted Tweets" 149

Posted by kdawson
from the what-biz-means dept.
CWmike writes "Twitter is finally taking off the training wheels and moving into the world where real businesses tread with the launch on Tuesday of its first advertising model, dubbed 'Promoted Tweets.' The microblogging phenom has long avoided coming up with a business plan or even talking about one. But the time has come for Twitter to figure out how to make money over the long haul. Analyst Dan Old isn't so sure that Twitter users will welcome the change. 'There will be a vocal minority of users who will hate any advertising at all,' Olds said. '[Many] users understand that it's necessary and will accept it as long as it doesn't interfere with their usage. But if the ads look like regular tweets, that could cause some serious outrage from users who feel that Twitter is attempting to deceive them.'"
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Twitter Grows Up, Adds "Promoted Tweets"

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  • freemium (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drDugan (219551) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:37PM (#31839882) Homepage

    I would much rather see twitter remain ad free, and charge a fair monthly fee based on number of followers and following; they could charge dynamically: more for companies than individuals, and reduce fees if your tweets are retweeted beyond your local follower network.

    Using a revenue model like this would allow Twitter to tweak user behaviors and increase the value of the discussion. It would reduce spam, encouraging insightful and fast information, and remove the incentive for zombie robot following collectives.

  • Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:38PM (#31839894) Homepage
    Twitter is adding advertisements? Say it ain't true!

    I've never heard of a dot-com company before that:
    1. Starts with an ungodly amount of free money from investors
    2. Becomes very, very popular, all while losing many millions of dollars
    3. When the investment money invariably begins to slow down, the company tries to "monetize" a money-losing idea.
    4. People hop off to the newest fad, leaving this one to languish and to be used by spammers and people from the Phillipines.
    5. The company is bought by some much larger company for a ridiculous amount of money.
    6. The large company can't capitalize on the earlier popularity, and the brand dies.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:47PM (#31839940)

    7) Many different imitators crop up, each trying to capture the former userbase, and the circle of life continues.

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dogtanian (588974) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#31840028) Homepage
    No, they mean that while most people don't particularly like ads, they'll accept them- as much out of passiveness and lazyness as the understanding that they're funding the site- but that a disproportionately noisy minority will whine and bitch about it, thinking that because they've enjoyed a free and adless service for so long that they're entitled to that forever, rather than being grateful that they got it for nothing for so long.
  • Re:Predictable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo42 (227475) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:03PM (#31840064) Homepage

    Most of the business plans I've seen in the last few years go something like that.

    1) Do something for free on the Internet.
    2) Get lots of people using it, lots of 'eye balls'.
    3) Sell to Google (or some other fool with deep pockets).

  • Re:freemium (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:11PM (#31840128) Homepage

    Between an aversion to paying for things that used to be free, fear of giving out card details and a need to pay in relatively big blocks to keep the card fees manageable a LOT of users will be driven away by a paywall. This has happened many times over the history of the net.

  • Re:I'm confused?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yotto (590067) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:16PM (#31840152) Homepage

    According to the article (Yeah I read it) they can delete "Promoted Tweets" that people don't find interesting.

    That puts them above about five-nines of the Tweets that aren't Promoted.

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:41PM (#31840356) Homepage Journal

    rather than being grateful

    "Grateful" is an interesting term to use when discussing the relationship of consumer to corporation.

    I should be "grateful" that something I didn't ask for has intruded in my life to the point where many of the websites I visit for news or entertainment have live twitter-fed widgets that take up space but didn't cost me anything, until now that it creates yet another ad stream.

    And just how is twitter better than IRC? Besides having the advertisements that I should now be grateful for?

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:02PM (#31840486)
    Grateful has nothing to do with it. If you offer a free service that I like (this SO does not apply to twitter, but speaking in general) I might use it. If you then start charging for it or bugging me in a way that in my opinion outweighs the value I get from it, then I might stop using it. Your business model is up you you but frankly I don't find it particularly ethically superior to offer a "free" service while having full intention in the back of your mind to changing the rules as soon as you got enough people hooked in, compared to just charging for it in the first place.
  • by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:08PM (#31840524)

    It would make my day to have a vacuous twat read some marketroid tweet on live TV.

    How exactly would this be different from the rest of their programming?

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lennier (44736) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:13PM (#31840560) Homepage

    I've always boggled why something like Twitter is a dotcom rather than a fundamental protocol. It's not adding any content - it's a pure message forwarding service. There's no apparent reason why 'forward short text message from point A to many points B' is something more value-added than 'retrieve HTTP' or 'forward SMTP' and needs to have a corporation managing it. Rather, it seems like a basic service that ISPs should provide. That would take care of the monetisation just fine.

  • Re:Predictable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:15PM (#31840580) Homepage
    "in this case, the company has become a commodity"

    So was Napster, and Friendster, and Myspace.

    In two years, Twitter will no longer be mainstream. Facebook is already in decline, and will tank once something "better" comes along. The Twitter phenomenon isn't new... it's just the newest version of the same thing.
  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier (44736) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:16PM (#31840588) Homepage

    And just how is twitter better than IRC?>

    It's better because a flashy dotcom startup can put themselves into the message loop for everyone on the planet, causing a single centralised point of failure for global communications, and add unwanted noise to your signal, while extracting and salting away millions of dollars in profit, making lots of business transactions less efficient in the process.

    Oh, you meant better for the users? It's not at all. But they don't make the venture capital magazines, do they?

  • by Improv (2467) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:22PM (#31840622) Homepage Journal

    We'll have tools that will hide the adverts, and do our best to make them widespread.

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tompaulco (629533) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:39PM (#31840710) Homepage Journal
    A vocal minority won't like getting bombarded with ads?
    No, a vocal minority will complain about the ads.

    Everyone else will just stop using the service.
  • by Kenz0r (900338) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @09:02PM (#31840874) Homepage
    You're assuming that advertisers would be held to the same limit as users.
    Why would they be? After all, they're paying for that ad space.
  • Re:freemium (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecated AT ema DOT il> on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:12AM (#31842064) Journal

    I would much rather see twitter remain ad free, and charge a fair monthly fee based on number of followers and following; they could charge dynamically: more for companies than individuals, and reduce fees if your tweets are retweeted beyond your local follower network.

    That is totally contrary to one of the main purposes of Twitter, which is to allow anyone to spread information as widely as possible.

    The zombie robot bullshit is largely due to their lacking security model. If I had to take a guess from their previous breaches, I'd say that it wasn't designed to be secure from the ground up. Facebook doesn't have nearly as bad of a bot problem as Twitter and myspace.

  • by knarf (34928) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:53AM (#31843326) Homepage

    Good! Splendid! If this means that infernal twitterbird gets removed from all those sites it has been showing up I'd say have them plaster all their twittertwatter with Re: herbal v14gr4 poker gambling ads 'till the cows come home.

    Twitter is a bad idea. It might fit in the attention-span deficient, Idol-aspiring 5 minutes of fame ideal of a dumbed-down happy consumer society but I don't want that fork of the decision tree to become the set future. There is still time to change track.

    Throw the switch! Kill the bird! Stamp it down!

    Next on the menu: Holler, the new twitter! Scream out loud to all the world!

  • Re:freemium (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @10:13AM (#31844528) Journal

    As opposed to the rest of the Internet, including Slashdot?

  • Re:vocal minority? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lennier (44736) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @06:56PM (#31851268) Homepage

    only on slashdot would someone boil something down to it's most basic function, and then compare it to something else based on that criteria.

    Er, yes? Because that's exactly what science and technology is, and what programmers do? Understand what the basic functions of things is? If learning and saying the truth about how things work makes us social pariahs, then something is wrong with society.

    Yes we get frustrated when someone who doesn't understand how either Technology A or Technology B work looks at A and says 'what is this crap', looks at B and says 'oh wow this is amazing', and both A and B are fundamentally the same thing with a different skin and a cooler marketing department but with freedom removed and lots of pointless strings attached.

    And yes this cuts both ways: sometimes technologists with a great infrastructure miss that last tiny last-mile bit of connectivity to make an integrated solution. All IRC needed to make it become Twitter was someone to write a web interface and an SMS interface and host it publically.

    So nobody did that tiny bit of work to make it usable - but why can't they? Why do we have to depend on an unreliable private corporation as a chokepoint for all our communications WHEN WE ALREADY HAVE THE SAME TECHNOLOGY just missing a few interfaces?

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann