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Twitter turns entire accounts into ads

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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 accounts you may want to follow based on whom you're already following, and under the new program, advertisers can pay for a spot among these suggestions. "We’re launching Promoted Accounts as part of 'Suggestions for You', which suggests accounts that people don’t currently follow and may find interesting," the company says in a blog post. "Promoted Accounts helps introduce an even wider variety of accounts people may enjoy."

The company already offers a "Promoted Tweets" program, in which advertisers pay for tweets to appear at the top of Twitter search results, and "Promoted Trends," where they pay for a spot in the company's list of "trending topics," i.e., the stuff that's mentioned most frequently on the service. Previously, Promoted Trends appeared at the bottom of the list, but the company now says they will appear at the top.

Wherever it appears, all promoted content will be marked as such.

Promoted Accounts are already live on the service, but Twitter says that at the moment they are few and far between. As with other account suggestions, paid accounts are suggested based on your current list of followers. "When an advertiser promotes an account, Twitter’s algorithm looks at that account’s followers and determines other accounts that those users tend to follow. If a user follows some of those accounts, but not the advertiser’s account, then Twitter may recommend the advertiser’s Promoted Account to that user," the company says.

"For example, a lot of people who follow several gaming-related accounts also follow @xbox. If someone follows gaming-related accounts, but not @xbox, Twitter may recommend @xbox to that person."

Dick Costelo, the man behind Twitter's efforts to find money in itself, was just named the company's CEO. ®

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