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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) *

    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 coll

    • Re:freemium (Score:5, Funny)

      by physicsmichael (1294958) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:44PM (#31839930)

      I would much rather see twitter remain ad free, and charge a fair monthly fee based on number of followers and following;

      The user base would drop ridiculously fast. Imagine if other social network sites charged to be used.

      "Nah man, I didn't see your party on Facebook. I forgot to pay my bill on time"

      • Re:freemium (Score:5, Funny)

        by winwar (114053) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:08PM (#31840108)

        "The user base would drop ridiculously fast."

        Then charging a monthly fee would be an excellent idea.

        "Imagine if other social network sites charged to be used."

        One can dream.

      • by dn15 (735502)

        "Nah man, I didn't see your party on Facebook. I forgot to pay my bill on time"

        Excellent idea! I'd love to see Facebook start charging so I could use that excuse to skip lame parties!

    • Re:freemium (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dskzero (960168) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:48PM (#31839952) Homepage
      Twitter isn't really based on encouraging insightful. It's based on people screaming in the dark hoping somebody does care about their dinner.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petermgreen (876956)

      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.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      tweak user behaviors and increase the value of the discussion.

      Can you elaborate on this, please? I'm interested.

    • Re:freemium (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:44PM (#31840380) Journal

      I would rather Twitter went into the offices of the CEOs of Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, and says "we want a third of your SMS-fee revenues; and don't raise prices. Otherwise, we'll turn off Twitter."

      Those guys would shit their pants and break a nail grabbing for the checkbook.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        At which point those companies will pass on the check balances to their customers. One way or another, we'll be paying. I'd personally rather have ads because there will always be a way to block them (with the worst case being some browser addon that I would have to install).

        • by Khyber (864651)

          "At which point those companies will pass on the check balances to their customers."

          Did you not read: "and don't raise prices."

          They'd see it somehow, either through their own employees that use those networks reporting about the raise in their bills for SMS, or through other means, and they'd just shut it off for mobile phone users.

          Mobile screens and browsers are crap for ad displaying, anyways.

        • by suffe (72090)
          I don't actually think that would happen. Granted, I haven't given this _that_ much thought, but I think the price of SMS;s could be loosely modeled as a function of a monopoly. For certain, the prices doesn't follow the regular price structures of a market in competition and it in no way reflects the underlying cost. Thus, assuming monopoly model, the price the carriers are charging are the highest the market will bear and any additional cost will be taken on by the company itself.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kramerd (1227006)

        I would rather Twitter went into the offices of the CEOs of Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, and says "we want a third of your SMS-fee revenues; and don't raise prices. Otherwise, we'll turn off Twitter."

        Those guys would shit their pants and break a nail grabbing for the checkbook.

        At which point, all of the Ceos will have the exact same reaction:

        'How did you get into my office? You want what??!! HAHAHAHAHAHA...no.'

        You know why? Because Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon can all use their prebudgeted ad time to point out that users will still have access to SMS in order to send pointless messages about the most mundane points of their lives and the ability to blog and send automatic short messages to user groups via SMS every time their blog gets updated, all doable from their ph

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Twitter manages your follower list and performs the fanout of your tweets automatically. And owns the patent on it.

          You had SMS before twitter. How many people did you ever contact at once? Do you think Ashton Kutcher typed in 4 million follower addresses on any of his text messages before twitter?

          How many "unlimited text" subscriptions do you think there were? I know I had a plan with about 50 texts per month on it. Went unlimited two weeks after following one person. I know I'm not alone. I also know

          • by kramerd (1227006)

            Twitter cannot own a patent on sending messages to a group of subscribers through a automated medium. Prior art exists well before email, but even with email the concept of a listserv is not owned by twitter simply because they employ the concept through sms (although if they did, you could get around it by simply sending email messages by using an excel spreadsheet of email addresses and importing the list into an automated emailer by running a script on your blog that sends the list and the message everyt

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrCrassic (994046)

      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.

  • Great! ~ they got a business model, it's bad enough I have to read about how twitter finally got paid online, but it's worse when CNN ( a supposed respected news organization ) is reporting on how jim carrey is getting his ass chewed out because he commented on another less interesting tigre woods scandal. Why do we let this crap out in the air waves?! worse, why do we let the people that run this stuff breed?!
  • 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.

    Yawn.
    • 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.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      People keep funding them though, because sometimes it works. See: Google and Facebook, both of which built very popular, money-losing free services, subsequently slapped ads on them, and are now raking in billions.

    • 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).

      • by Khyber (864651)

        I like how you say "Or some other fool."

        Some of the stuff Google has been doing recently has been fairly foolish.

    • Interesting, but in this case, the company has become a commodity to the point that 'twitting' is a mainstream verb. That's very valuable in many ways.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While I agree with you, I think technically its 'tweeting' which sort of goes against your argument that its a mainstream verb. (Although I guess /. isn't the mainstream so misuse here is okay)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DogDude (805747)
        "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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mattack2 (1165421)

        ...the company has become a commodity to the point that 'twitting' is a mainstream verb.

        Apparently not mainstream enough, because it's actually "tweeting".

        (Disclaimer, my anecdotal data points are simply what I've heard people use + the fact that google's suggestions don't have any hits for "twitting", and do for "tweeting". They do have hits for "twittering", however.)

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          ...the company has become a commodity to the point that 'twitting' is a mainstream verb.

          Apparently not mainstream enough, because it's actually "tweeting".

          (Disclaimer, my anecdotal data points are simply what I've heard people use + the fact that google's suggestions don't have any hits for "twitting", and do for "tweeting". They do have hits for "twittering", however.)

          Or those of us who know the preferred term is "tweeting" but refuse to use it. It's called Twitter, and if they wanted people to "tweet" ra

      • by Phurge (1112105)
        "tweeting"

        /spelling Nazi
    • by bman (84104)

      7. ???
      8. Profit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by severoon (536737)

      You left off a few steps...

      7. ???
      8. PROFIT!!!

  • You mean all those tweets that involved guys talking about how long their penis is weren't Viagra and Extenze ads? Oh dear....
  • I want to see these networks unwittingly replay some of these "promoted Tweets". I want to hear Wolf Blitzer read something like the following: "and here we go to DoritosRGr8 - America is #1 LOL n I hear Obama luvs new Peppermint Ranch Doritos!" It would make my day to have a vacuous twat read some marketroid tweet on live TV.

  • Slashdot continues to publish Promoted Stories, which could cause some serious outrage from users who feel that CmdrTaco is attempting to deceive them.
  • by rueger (210566) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#31840034) Homepage
    How will I tell the "promoted Tweets" from the everyday Twitter spam?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yotto (590067)

      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.

  • by Rantastic (583764) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:01PM (#31840040) Journal

    I find it amusing that they think they have inventing something new here: Ads at the top of search results.

    Regardless, as I rarely if ever search for anything on Twitter, I don't expect I'll ever see any ads. The day they start spamming ads into the tweets I'm following is the day I kiss Twitter goodbye.

  • by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:01PM (#31840050)
    I hope the Farmvillle admins' servers are prepared. When people can't microblag their life for free, they resort to obsessive compulsive virtual farming.
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:19PM (#31840180) Homepage
    Time to go to my closest Starbucks for a venti non fat latte. What a great way to round out the afternoon!

    They have great snacks there, too, starting at just $1.49! you should try it!
  • We used to call this kind of thing "jumping the shark".

    (Or "selling out to the Man", but it's hard to say that with a straight face.)

  • Darn it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:36PM (#31840310)

    I guess I'm missing out, having never seen the point in Twitter. But I have seen a few tweets, so I have a pretty good idea of how this might be implemented...

    Johnny465: I just ate a delicious pastrami sandwich! Yum! (Brought to you by Jimmy John's)

    Sally92: I'm so angry, my boyfriend forgot our date and took a nap instead! (You should try No-Doze)

    Joe4ever: I'm in the bathroom right now (Sponsored by Charmin)

    • Ian496: OMG!!!!! Train just derailed, bodies everywhere (Brought to you by First Group)
    • by Graff (532189)

      No no, that would be:

      Joe4ever: I'm in the bathroom right now (Brought to you by Carl's Jr.)

  • So if I send this to Twitter, does it create another Slashvertisement front page post, causing a Möbius loop of FAIL ?

  • Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andorin (1624303) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @07:43PM (#31840372)
    This doesn't really affect me as I hardly ever search Twitter. The rare exception is when I want to follow someone and don't already know their username. I also use Twitter from a client instead of my browser- and on that note, TFA mentions that they may be adding support for Promoted Tweets to appear in third-party clients in the future, which makes me unhappy. I'm only following a handful of people (mostly friends and maybe two well-known/famous people) and if I started getting ads in my tweet roster from corporations I don't care about, I'd abandon Twitter in a heartbeat.

    However, although I dislike advertising, this doesn't seem so bad. Only one Promoted Tweet per page, and only in search results, it's clearly marked as an ad, and they have to meet a popularity threshold in order to stay. If all online ads were like that, I'd be less inclined to block them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Phil06 (877749)
      Searching Twitter is useless, any trending topic is going to be loaded with spam posts. If there was a way to exclude anything with a link I would use it. 99.9% of all messaging links (email, chat, tweet) are spam yet nobody seems to notice. When was the last time you clicked on a link from your "bank"?
  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @08:16PM (#31840584) Homepage

    Just block them and/or report them as spam.

    Or just use a client that disregards the ads.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DavidKlemke (1048264)

      Whilst I'm sure there will be something like AdBlock for Twitter I can imagine them making the terms of use for the API so that doing so would be a violation of their TOS. Considering that many of the clients are ad supported already (and Twitter has mentioned that there might be a revenue sharing arrangement in the works) the larger majority would comply with the new ads, lest they get blocked and overtaken by another client that does.

      • by sethstorm (512897) *

        Then the users will just flock towards a client that offers blocking and gets around pesky API keys.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> 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.

  • 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!

  • Big surprise. Twitter going to sell ads. Who would have guessed that.

    Just once, I'd like to see a "web 2.0" company come up with a business model that does not depend on either: selling the attention of their users to the highest bidder, selling information about their users, or selling the ability for customers to try to sell things to their users.

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