Twitter has unveiled an advertising service, called "Promoted Tweets," that will allow businesses and organisations to highlight their messages to a wider group of users -- and thereby help Twitter cash in on its expanding popularity.
AFP - Twitter unveiled a plan Tuesday to use advertising to turn its massive popularity into profit.
Biz Stone, one of the three co-founders of the micro-blogging service, provided details of the long-awaited revenue-generating plan for the San Francisco-based startup in a post on the Twitter blog.
Stone said the advertising service, called "Promoted Tweets," will allow businesses and organizations to highlight their 140-character-or-less messages known as "tweets" to a wider group of users.
He said a number of companies, including Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America, had signed up to take part in the first phase of the advertising program.
Stone acknowledged Twitter has been slow to add a money-making aspect to the service, which has seen explosive growth since its launch nearly four years ago and has received tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding.
"Over the years, we've resisted introducing a traditional Web advertising model because we wanted to optimize for value before profit," Stone said.
"Stubborn insistence on a slow and thoughtful approach to monetization -- one which puts users first, amplifies existing value, and generates profit has frustrated some Twitter watchers," he admitted.
Stone said "tweets" sponsored by advertisers would be featured at the top of Twitter.com's search results pages so they would not get lost in the constant stream of messages that flow into the accounts of Twitter users.
Only one "promoted tweet" would be displayed per page. A sponsored "tweet" from Starbucks, for example, would appear at the top of a search results page for a user who searches for Starbucks or a related word.
"Promoted Tweets will be clearly labeled as 'promoted' when an advertiser is paying," Stone said. "But in every other respect they will first exist as regular tweets and will be organically sent to the timelines of those who follow a brand."
He said "Promoted Tweets" would need to "resonate with users" to remain anchored at the top of a page.
"That means if users don't interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favoriting it, or retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear," he said.
Stone said that "Promoted Tweets" would only appear for the moment in search results on the official Twitter.com website or in the accounts of Twitter users who are signed up to receive updates from a particular company or organization.
Eventually, however, they will be allowed to be shown in the many applications for using Twitter made by outside software developers.
Stone said "Promoted Tweets" will give advertisers "a powerful means of delivering information relevant" to users in real-time.
Twitter has allowed Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! to index "tweets" in their search engines for an undisclosed sum of money but the advertising service launched on Tuesday is the company's first serious money-making venture.
Stone said fellow co-founder Evan Williams would reveal more about the "Promoted Tweets" advertising service at a Twitter developers' conference called "Chirp" to be held in San Francisco starting on Wednesday.
Twitter said recently its users are creating 50 million messages a day.
Twitter does not release figures on the total number of users of the micro-blogging service, which was launched in August 2006, but they are estimated to be in the tens of millions.
Date created : 2010-04-13