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Twitter Sells "Trending Topics" To Advertisers 67

Posted by timothy
from the this-just-in dept.
destinyland writes "Twitter's 'Promoted Tweets' platform already allows advertisers to insert ads directly into its users' Twitter feeds. But advertisers will soon also be able to purchase spaces in the 'Trending Topics' area of Twitter. The space reserved for tracking topics seeing the most discussion will be sold for 'thousands of dollars a day,' according to advertisers who've been approached by Twitter, and while it could be a real cash cow for the service, some users argue that Twitter 'risks ruining the site if it lets the pursuit of profit interfere with the organic nature of the social network.'"
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Twitter Sells "Trending Topics" To Advertisers

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  • (insert giant sucking sound here)

  • Ruining what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by honestmonkey (819408) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @05:41PM (#32552610) Journal
    I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore and the VC funds drying up might ruin the site a bit more. Nothing stays free forever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore and the VC funds drying up might ruin the site a bit more.

      I would think that that would improve it massively.

    • I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore...

      That might be nice, but unlikely. I prefer to simply regard Twitter as irrelevant. I never, ever go there, and I ignore any exhortations from others to do so. If they started hosting any worthwhile content, I could be pursuaded to change my position, but the whole process of digesting all content into a 140-byte premasticated turd does not bespeak a site worthy of attention.
  • by Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) <slashdot@nOsPam.izabael.com> on Saturday June 12, 2010 @05:45PM (#32552634) Homepage Journal
    They have to turn a profit. Look at how over-run youtube has become. It's pretty annoying, but they did it gradually which helped silent the complaints.

    Twitter will do the same. Slowly but surely making it lamer than it already is. Look at its profit forecasts (from wikipedia):

    "Some of Twitter's documents covering revenue and user growth were published on TechCrunch after they were retrieved by the hacker, Croll Hacker. These contained internal projections that in 2009 they would have revenues of $400,000 in the third quarter (Q3) and $4 million in the fourth quarter (Q4) along with 25 million users at the end of the year. The projections for the end of 2013 were $1.54 billion in revenue, $111 million in net earnings, and 1 billion users.[1] No information about how Twitter plans to achieve those numbers has been published. Biz Stone published a blog post suggesting legal action for revealing the details was a possibility.[28]"\


    I don't see how they can ever reach such high estimates no matter what they do. But they will certainly try.
    • by malv (882285)

      Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

      • by eihab (823648) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:16PM (#32552806)

        Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

        I think the parent was referring to the obnoxiousness of the ads, not their existence.

        If I remember correctly:

        - One day there were no ads
        - Next they started adding small graphic/text banners on the top right corner and shared revenue with top uploaders (?)
        - Later they added a tiny text-ad bar above the movie player controls
        - Then they increased the bar size to cover a quarter of the screen and made it stick around for longer
        - And now they have full 15-30 second videos before popular videos begin to play

        Not that I care, but they certainly did this gradually.

      • Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

        At "internet speed" a change that takes place over a day is gradual.
        * Term: "Again?" - sometimes it shows up, sometimes not; vendor has no idea what's happening or why
        * Term: "WTF?" : - hey, something changed and it wasn't there last time I refreshed
        * Term: "Instant" : - announced by the vendor at the moment it is dumped upon the users
        * Term: "Fast" : - it took minutes before it was too late to hit the Internet's "undo" button
        * Term: "Slow" : - an hour after a program, product or site was written,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Peach Rings (1782482)

      One billion users? There aren't even 2 billion people [internetworldstats.com] with internet access at all.

      • by Firehed (942385)

        I think by "users" they mean "active accounts". I have five different accounts between my personal account and several projects, and I'm certainly not alone.

    • by migla (1099771) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:35PM (#32552922)

      I don' use twitter in any way, but I think I saw it's usefulness during the protests in Iran.

      Imagine Twitter with Free code and a non-profit, donations based model. Surely humankind could set that up, everyone paying what they can. It should work, IMO. I'd pay some :s, just as soon as I can muster any income and a bank account. I expect the finances being open and any monetary need (for hosting or whatever) addressed swiftly by the haves of the community.

      Incidentally, half the work has all ready been done: http://identi.ca/ [identi.ca] and http://status.net/ [status.net]

      • Imagine Twitter with Free code and a non-profit, donations based model. -> I'd pay some :s, just as soon as I can muster any income and a bank account.

        Yeah.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by owlnation (858981)

      They have to turn a profit. Look at how over-run youtube has become. It's pretty annoying, but they did it gradually which helped silent the complaints.

      I'm surprised there's not been considerably much more outrage at Youtube actually. I find the Youtube site to be no longer usable. (In fact, it is actually completely impossible to use it with adblock and firefox -- does this mean I whitelist it? No, it means I use another video site.) While I understand that Google needs to raise revenue from youtube, the

      • Wait, what? Impossible to use? Firefox and ablock plus, right here, and I can definately use the youtube site.
        • Same here. And I also have never seen any ads on youtube at all.
          Maybe because I use youtube to look at videos that regular people have made about subjects I'm interested in, like musical instruments... and I upload similar videos, stuff my family might want to see, fellow hobbyists, whatever.

          I suppose it's different if you're watching just the "top videos," then you might see ads... but when you think about it, even if you DON'T see ads when you watch the top videos, you're watching ads anyway because the t

  • twitter (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 12, 2010 @05:47PM (#32552644)

    Okay poop is coming out now

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This already has been happening in other areas. Many news sites sell information on trending stories.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by somaTh (1154199)
      I believe the difference here is that, instead of a site monitoring which pages people are visiting, Twitter would be monitoring the user comments. While it's ridiculous to assume privacy through Twitter (since it's designed specifically to spread information), it still FEELS wrong.
  • by internetcommie (945194) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:01PM (#32552724)
    ... that the advertisements also are limited to 140 signs!
  • They also risk ruining the site if they go out of business because they couldn't find a way to make money.

  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CasualFriday (1804992) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:08PM (#32552766) Homepage
    Nothing is going to happen. People are going to happily continue tweeting. They might notice the ads, say "Oh, look at that", and continue on their merry way. If facebook's privacy problems don't discourage users, this definitely won't.
    • People are going to happily continue tweeting.

      Exactly. Twitter is not there for people to read something they are actually interested in. It is a soapbox for people to stand on while they yell "I JUST DROPPED AN ENORMOUS CRAP" (31 characters). Nobody actually reads this rubbish, twits are just twittering into a void. But if it keeps them away from sites that I do visit, then Twitter does at least have one useful purpose.
  • what Wikipedia does.

  • some users argue that Twitter 'risks ruining the site if it lets the pursuit of profit interfere with the organic nature of the social network.'

    Twitter risks running out of money if it lets the organic nature of the social network interfere with the pursuit of profit. Then how will you tell your friends what color your last bowel movement was? You're Facebook friends with Grandma now, do you think she wants to read that? Wait, old people do talk about that stuff. Carry on.

  • by thesandbender (911391) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:23PM (#32552858)
    The Internet has always had the reputation of being "free", when it never has been. In the past it was supported by academic and government (military) sources whose realized value in the either the free flow of information and/or an uninterpretable flow of information. It has since moved on to be maintained by businesses that what want to generate revenue from supporting it. There's nothing inherently evil in this, they provide a service and you pay for it one way or another. It used to be in taxes, tuition, etc... now it's in subscriptions, advertising hits, etc. The problem is the myth that the internet is "free" is still very much ingrained and people will use all sorts of sites and provide a ridiculous amount of information without ever stopping to thing that these sites are (generally) not run out of charity and will extract their pound of flesh in some manner.
  • Who cares (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mister Liberty (769145) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:24PM (#32552866)
    This may be a first in that ads may carry more 'content'
    than the user contributions.
  • How about making good products, so users will advertise it anyway by word of mouth?
    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      using the internet to sell products is soooooooooooooooooo web 1.0! it's all about b.s. "services" that don't really create added value now. This is why I ditched my twitter account a couple of days ago after they updated the api use agreement for third-party clients to force urls through their own filters for statistic gathering. I'm quickly losing any reason to care about FB, too. It's been going down hill a lot faster lately. It was pretty useful when it was still colleges-only though.

  • I mean, Jesus. wtf. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@@@davidgerard...co...uk> on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:34PM (#32552918) Homepage

    If they're going to sell ads, why not sell ads that look like ads? Why do they have to mess around with insinuating them into the service?

    I mean, I pay nothing to post on Twitter. Put an ad in the corner. I promise not to run away.

    • by garcia (6573)

      If they're going to sell ads, why not sell ads that look like ads? ... Put an ad in the corner. I promise not to run away.

      Because of Ad Block, GreaseMonkey, and the great work the brain does in training itself not to look at ads when they become prevalent on the page. So by sneaking them into shit like trending topics or making random tweets actually ads, it's harder to train your mind or software to ignore them.

      Personally I don't use twitter.com for anything and I have clicked a trending topic once or twic

  • I'll just post my twits here.
    Here's my first one: "Um. Well. I don't really know what to say, here. Ah, just, ah. I guess that's it."
    I hope I didn't go over the limit. Did everyone read that? Check back soon for more.
    Also, check out my cool pages on MyFace and SpaceBook.
  • by sehlat (180760) on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:51PM (#32553008)

    As the following blog post http://steve.grc.com/2010/05/24/facebook-and-the-ford-pinto/ [grc.com] points out:

    Unfortunately, the only "asset" Facebook has to monetize is the wealth of personal information that has been poured into the system by every one of those 400 million users. Facebook has understood this from day one, its user community has not.

    Ditto for Twitter.

    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      Unfortunately, the only "asset" Facebook has to monetize is the wealth of personal information that has been poured into the system by every one of those 400 million users. Facebook has understood this from day one, its user community has not.

      Ditto for Twitter.

      I disagree completely, Twitter is more akin to SMS and Google search services.

      People don't generally share personal info info on twitter (some may), but they communicate THROUGH Twitter. Twitter is just group SMS, where interested parties can listen and share.

      One of the biggest strengths of it is the ability to search these real time communications. (For example, you search it before you drive to find out the condition of traffic on your route, you automatically receive alerts of where s

  • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Saturday June 12, 2010 @06:56PM (#32553036) Homepage
    Twitter has been manipulating their trending topics for a while now. In the past they've added big live events like sports contests to their trending topics when, in my analysis, those topics simply weren't trending. How do I know? I spent some time trying to build a long-term trending topics list using the public_timeline feeds. There were obvious items there that were underrepresented in the actual tweets. They should label these "sponsored topics" as such.
  • I mean, among those who do care for Twitter.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They can bring a bit of entertainment if youre utterly bored, however most of my twitter use tends to be though the htcpeep client on my HD2. thus i can see the need to insert the ads as random tweets in your feed, because how else are they going to get them to all the users that use apps on their phones to upload and view tweets?

      I just hope these randomly inserted ad tweets and trending topics are clearly marked as such.

      • Well I won't see those ads either because since I'm self-centered (the reason I use twitter in the first place) I don't read other people's tweets, I just tweet my own and expect them to be read and cherished.

  • As I understand it, it the ads will only be on the web site or on certain subscription only channels.

    Who on earth uses Twitter's web site to use Twitter's data? It's quite possibly the worst interface to the service that exists. Maybe 10% of the users I follow ever post from web.

    And if you want to subscribe to the all ad channel, then .. well, you're using Twitter in the way that all the microblogging haters love to make fun of, and frankly, you're doing it wrong.

    • #thingsblackpeopledontdo
    • Mini Lady Gaga
    • #worldcup
    • Oil Spill
    • A-Team

    ...and nothing of value was lost.

  • As your monopoly service provider with very low data limit caps, I plan on profiting very handsomely, by making you pay to receive lots and lots of ads..

  • by mahadiga (1346169)

    Sell Twitter to Google. They'll know how to generate revenue.

  • Twitter's 'Promoted Tweets' platform already allows advertisers to insert ads directly into its users' Twitter feeds.

    No it does not.

    As detailed here, promoted tweets [twitter.com] are NOT displayed in user's feeds at all, but only in search results currently.

    They do go on to explain they will review feedback, and potentially expand them, keeping the option open to include them in users' feeds, specifically if there's value in doing so.

    I search and use the service daily, and have yet to receive a single ad.

  • I think the users will just ignore the ads just like everyone does at facebook. Unless some ad of their interest POPS out! All in all, great news for twitter and the advertisers to gain more and more profit! Thanks.

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