After years of speculation that Twitter must be planning something massively awesome to make money if they were taking this long to come up with a plan, they have completely let their users down with the most mundane plan it possibly could have come up with.
The New York Times is reporting that Twitter is about to announce a new advertising platform named “Promoted Tweets.” The concept is that a company like Starbucks will purchase advertising for its name, and whenever someone searches on the site for the word, they will see an ad at the top of the results that will appear there no matter what time it was posted. It will say in small print that the Tweet is promoted by the company, and it will also turn yellow when a user mouses over it.
“The idea behind Promoted Tweets is that we want to enhance the communications that companies are already having with customers on Twitter,” said Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief operating officer, to the newspaper.
What is not ruled out is the possibility that these promoted Tweets would finally find their way into your personal timelines. Say you make a Tweet about Starbucks, and within a few moments a promotional Tweet from Starbucks finds its way into your timeline stream. I for one tend to unfollow people who put excessive advertising into the stream, but I guess I would be out of luck in this case.
There is also the question of how this will work with third-party applications like TweetDeck. We’d of course see the ads if we searched on the correct terms, but could they make it always show up at the top? Could they make it change color in the applications? Sure they would be able to mark it as a promoted Tweet, but would that be enough disclosure to satisfy people? Or could this be some of the reasons behind Twitter purchasing Tweetie and launching its own official BlackBerry app?
I am all for Twitter making money, and have actually been quite vocal about my hopes they would, but did they have to be so insanely mundane with the method they went with? Third-party companies have been inserting ads into Twitter streams for ages now, and after all this time and speculation, this is all the company could come up with? Talk about anti-climatic.
There is no word as of yet as to when we will see the ads start appearing.