Twitter has unveiled another effort to make money from its micro-blogging service. With its latest advertising program, dubbed "Promoted Accounts," advertisers can pay the company to promote their Twitter accounts to certain users. Currently, from a sidebar on the right-hand side of its homepage, Twitter offers a list of …
Too much API
Twitter's revenue generating efforts seem to be geared towards getting eyeballs on their website an serving ads there.
But with heavy users and mobile users almost exclusively using Twitter API clients, and with recent XSS exploints on the website encouraging more users to use an API client, I'm not sure who's going to be left looking at the website?
The API allows user to pick and choose which bits of Twitter's content the users see. You can't serve sidebar ads as a seperate API service, as no API client is going to deliver that content to the user anyway, which leaves you with having to serve commercialised content direct into the feeds / timelines themselves.
Whilst Twitter client software developers have been able to commercialise their efforts relatively easily, either as paid for licensed product or an ad-bearing sponsosred free download, I can't see what Twitter has which it CAN commercialise? It needs to monetize the API, and the only way it can do that is by polluting it with commercial / sponsored content, at which point it becomes a less appealing product all round.
It would be a bit like having your telephone calls interrupted evey five minutes by a commercial message, rather than just paying for a line rental and calls package. OTOH, nobody's going to want to pay a subscription / line rental package for Twitter are they? ARE THEY?
Or am I missing something?
RE : Too much API
"You can't serve sidebar ads as a seperate API service, as no API client is going to deliver that content to the user anyway, "
Well you can try by simply enforcing at the API level that you must pull the promoted tweets stream every x number of requests, and by banning any appication that it turns out isn't showing the promoted material.
Or, since client apps are being encouraged to move to the streaming API in any case , you can ...
"which leaves you with having to serve commercialised content direct into the feeds / timelines themselves."
...do exactly that, yes, but since you are in control of what goes into the stream, you can make sure that only client apps get this. Again, you can ban the fuck out of any client app that doesn't play nice with your rules, assuming you can see it, obviously. Each client app has it's own ID in order to work with oAuth, BTW, so banning a client app is trivial once you know it's a rouge.
Speculation on my part, of course.
"I can't see what Twitter has which it CAN commercialise? ... Or am I missing something?"
Yes. Think real time marketing and trend analytics, especially with the roll out of the t.co URL shortening service which will most likely eventually move all clickthrough stats in house. Think influence marketing, think subliminal marketing, think astroturfing.
How much, for instance, do you think certain parties (ad firms, political parties, etc) would be willing to pay for access to (or more likely leased usage of a service based on) k shell decomposition data for the entire twitter social graph ?
You can get some bits of this now if you plug in to the 'firehose' (near) real time stream, which is not free. As indeed Google and MS have done to include tweets in their search offerings.
And once you're plugged into the hosebird, you can of course crunchify the data any which way you see fit.
"How much, for instance, do you think certain parties (ad firms, political parties, etc) would be willing to pay for...?"
Not a lot is my guess otherwise they'd already be doing this. They may have just figured out that where you put crap in you get crap out. OTOH that might be suspecting the above of some degree of critical intelligence.
Burn, twitter, burn. Any more news of pink slips being handed out at the Twat Center (Merkin spelling)?
Burn before reading
"Not a lot is my guess otherwise they'd already be doing this. "
Duh, they are.
"OTOH that might be suspecting the above of some degree of critical intelligence."
Diddums, did I use big words that you didn't understand and make your geekWang shrink ? Here let me help you out, read about k shell decomposition and it's applicability to social networks here http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100829202004.htm
I've linked the Science Daily article rather than the journal paper because it has maths in it and don't want to hurt you.
Am i the only person who is surprised that they haven't just inserted ads into peoples streams before now? Seems simplest to do.
Wouldn't even matter if people used twitter clients then.
Apart from Trending Topics
If they just lie and say Microsoft Zune is a top trending topic instead of having an advert then Twitter is going to look desper
Ah, thus the rush to move to OAuth
So they can ban clients that filter out obvious ads inserted into the stream.
Still, it beats the alternative:
@50Cent: yo yo i be lovin at&t like a pimp daddy mofo keeping it real 4 yalls
I still don't see the appeal of twitter. I've looked into it and all I saw was an advertising platform with no desirable functionality. Everything on there is either a reiteration of someone desperately trying to get the world to notice them or another advert stream...or both.
I can understand why twitter is doing what it's doing in this case, and it's perfectly valid - I just personally see it as another way to get paid to target adverts on an advertising platform to people who volunteer to watch adverts. It's not like it provides a useful service, like a search engine.
Many Twitter API clients are open sauce, so anyone can add some bits to identify ads on the stream and don't show them to the user.
Yes, it would be like AdBlock+ on Firefox: not all people use it but the tech savvy, which isn't the regular customer anyway (or the fool which would click on an ad)
And even if a Twitter client is banned using oAuth, what is the technical difficulty to hack into their own web client and get the updates from there directly?
Pirate -- 'cos even if it is free, it's better if we pillage it.
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