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Twitter to serve unsolicited ads in Facebook style

Crystal stream of news to be controllably polluted

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Twitter is to start pushing adverts from companies which Twitter users are not following into their tweet streams, but only ones it has decided they will be interested in: so that's OK then.

At the moment, Twitter only pushes adverts into a user's stream of tweets if the Twitter user has signed up to "follow" the company placing the advert, while Facebook is apparently happy to push anything into the stream of news. But All Things D reports that Twitter is catching up and about to start pushing adverts from those it feels you might be interested in, based on your other followings and activities.

The idea is that if you're following one airline then you're probably interested in products supplied by another one. That's hardly a new idea, but as Twitter won't be explaining how it decides who is interested in what, it also provides the company with Google-like variability in the number of adverts it delivers.

Google, by default, delivers adverts on the basis of related terms as well as on terms for which the advertiser has bid, but as the Chocolate Factory decides what is "related", it is free to adjust the term to get the right number of adverts delivered.

Twitter will enjoy the same flexibility, and although the ads will only appear on the Twitter.com website (as opposed to being pushed out to those using client applications), the company will be able to deliver as many adverts as it wishes.

Facebook has been emulating Twitter's news-feed for a while now, but when it comes to pushed adverts it seems to be leading. Facebook already slips update-like adverts into ticker updates, which can't be removed or unsubscribed despite the best efforts of search-engine expert Phil Bradley.

All Things D pegs Twitter's advertising revenue at $100m this year, compared to Facebook which made something between five and 10 times that amount. That's not nearly enough to justify Twitter's $8bn valuation, so one way or another it has got to put more products in front of our eyes if its not going to make us pay for this stuff. ®

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