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Twitter gearing up for ads

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday September 12, 2009 )

Twitter’s recent TOS update leaves the door well and truly open for the service to start delivering advertising.

Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Inc. made the announcement about the TOS update yesterday.

The revised terms state that Twitter may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the content or information under a Twitter profile; i.e., contextual advertising.

And who can blame them? I guess they have to start making cash at some stage and if implemented correctly, the ads could be quite useful to users. Something I think could work is if they implemented an AdSense style program whereby select Twitter users could share in the revenue too. Placing ads on profiles where the user only seems to talk about stuff nobody could give two hoots about, e.g. “my cat barfed”, “it’s sunny”, “don’t want to go to work” would be rather futile anyway.

While on the topic of Twitter and advertising, something I hadn’t seen before is their spam policy and how Twitter goes about detecting it. Some of the factors Twitter takes into account include:

– Following a large amount of users or following and unfollowing, or following and unfollowing the same users in a short amount of time

– Having a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following

– Updates that consist mainly of links.

– Large number of people are blocking a particular user

– Posting duplicate content over a number of accounts

– Attempting to sell followers

– Posting multiple unrelated updates to a topic using #

– Sending large numbers of unsolicited @replies in an attempt to spam a service or link

.. and of course, the number of spam complaints

Twitter does do big audits occasionally. One performed relatively recently saw thousands of accounts banned – which also explained why some people noticed sudden drops in followers; as these were “spam” followers.

I make special mention of this because, as with any popular social networking service, tools are appearing on the scene making promises of boosting your followers with 0 effort. Even some solid tools have these features, so they should be used with care (or those features not at all).

If you have an online business and haven’t used Twitter yet, thinking it may not be for you; think again. I was rather dubious about Twitter, but I’ve found it to be a great way to push traffic to web sites, with just a minute’s extra work a day. And no, not using any special tools, spamming or trickery – and staying within Twitter’s terms of service.

Check out Twitter as a marketing tool.


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