Feeds

Twitter to auction off words

Advertising? At last!

Top three mobile application threats

Twitter will start auctioning off keywords, gluing promoted tweets to the top of search results, but won't start pushing out advertising until the end of the year.

The new service is called "Prompted Tweets" and allows a company to pay to have a specific tweet promoted to the top of search results, with a small note saying who's sponsoring the result. Sponsored tweets pushed out to users won't come until the end of the year, as Twitter treads extremely carefully in its search for a proper business model.

Twitter desperately needs some revenue - a couple of content-licensing deals aren't going to pay the bills and the VC cash will, eventually, run out. So come the end of 2010, Twitter expects to be able to push advertising tweets out to users - someone subscribed to a load of travel writers might get adverts for an airline - but for the moment advertising will only appear in search results.

Advertisers bid for a keyword and the winner gets displayed - only one advert per search, so those just following Twitter feeds won't see anything at all. So far so Google, but Twitter reckons it can make things more Web 2.0 by agreeing to pull an advert if it lacks "resonance" with the twitterati.

That "resonance" is measured by the number of people who interact with the tweet such as clicking on a link, replying, or passing the tweet on. If an advert lacks "resonance" then it will be automatically pulled, and the advertiser stops paying for it. The idea is that measuring "resonance" will ensure that adverts are relevant and interesting to the masses, not to mention preparing the ground for the next phase of revenue generation.

That involves pushing adverts direct to people who've subscribed to related topics, and is dangerous ground for a service which has all the stickiness of greased Teflon. Details of the next phase aren't at all clear; Twitter will want to see how phase one works out before explaining how its pushed tweets will be different from spam.

Twitter will have to tread very carefully to avoid offending its fickle customers, who've grown accustomed to getting everything for free. It's one thing to claim you'll only push adverts your users find engaging, it's quite another to actually do it. It's going to be very interesting to see how Twitter goes about the attempt, and if it can pull it off. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.