Home Twitter’s Advertising Scheme is Delightfully Boring – Just As It Should Be

Twitter’s Advertising Scheme is Delightfully Boring – Just As It Should Be

Why do people care how Twitter will make money? “We won’t know where we, the users, fit in — until they tell us how they’re going to make money,” Dave Winer wrote a year ago this week, “And when they tell us, we may not like it.” That’s one reason why people care how Twitter makes money.

Whether you’re a person concerned that the popular social network you’re investing your time and energy in might monetize in an anti-social way, or you’re a skeptic who refuses to believe that the world-changing potential of Twitter is real until it proves itself economically viable – you probably heard that Twitter announced tonight it’s got a plan for advertisements. You can breathe a sigh of relief; the plan is downright boring, just as it should be.

Advertisements will begin in search, with keywords being bid on and a single advertisement appearing with frequency dependent on its performance. Then the ads will be extended to 3rd party applications like TweetDeck and others. It’s unclear who will use it, Tweetie got bought by Twitter last week and Twitterific has its own ads, but other apps will come and go, hopefully given the option (not the requirement) to show Twitter ads to their users.

Finally, ads will begin to appear on Twitter.com, tailored to the interests of users, as easily observed by their messages published and received.

This is great: it’s relatively non-invasive, nothing too crazy, nothing terribly exploitive. Some people who insist on reading every Tweet in their stream will probably be annoyed once they find ads in it, but there are already lots of unofficial ads being published on Twitter and maybe this will break those people of the habit of obsessing over every little message.

This is surely not the intention behind the plan, Twitter HQ itself is full of people who spend time carefully pruning their streams. Twitter’s new head of PR Sean Garrett, for example, quit following NBC’s @newmediajim and media analyst Shelly Palmer last week, something it’s hard to imagine him doing for any reason other than concern about signal-to-noise ratio and an unhealthy concern with reading every one of the Tweets in his stream.

But the point is this: it appears that no baby animals will be hurt in the making of the Twitter.

Along with the big search deals with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and the forthcoming availability of power Commercial Accounts, Twitter seems to have found relatively non-violent ways to monetize. As long as the firehose of user activity data is in fact made more widely available and not kept from small innovators, and as long as regular accounts aren’t handicapped in order to make commercial accounts more appealing – then these three plans together look pretty good.

It’s not banner ads, it’s not sales of data to direct marketers, it’s not licensing access to Direct Messages to the CIA. Twitter is at its best when it keeps things simple, when it stays out of the way and acts like a dumb, if textured, pipe. Put a contextual ad up to keep the lights on, what do I care?

It’s entirely predictable, shouldn’t hurt too much and might even work. As Liz Gannes said so well in her headline at Gigaom tonight: “The Twitter Ad Model Revealed (What Were You Expecting, a Pony?)”

Update: Twitter’s Biz Stone posted to the company’s blog about this at one minute after midnight. He didn’t say much that was new but he did title the post “Hello World,” implying that this is in some ways the real beginning for Twitter.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.