Well, it was inevitable–but I’ve got to say that I’m a bit surprised at how fast things are moving. While it’s still very early in the game, it looks like advertising and marketing activities are beginning to creep onto Twitter.
As regular readers of this blog know, I believe that Twitter can support advertising without ruining the experience. That doesn’t mean, however, that all models are equal. As in any other Net medium, spam is a pain, and reports are already surfacing of spammy advertisers following people. On the other hand, I do think Mashable‘s story, headlined “Twitter Spam Spirals Out of Control,” goes a bit overboard, as I, for one, haven’t attracted any spam followers yet.
More interesting than the spammers, by far, is the eBay auction by Twitter user @andrewbaron, who’s selling off his Twitter account and nearly 1,400 followers. With nearly a week left to go on the auction, Baron has already attracted 40 bidders. What’s more, the bids have now topped $1,500–valuing the followers at more than $1 each. While Baron doesn’t describe his follower list as a marketing opportunity, I’m doubting the people bidding on it see it as anything but that.
Then, you have rumors floating around that Twitter has begun testing out short advertising messages of its own over the past few days, allegedly within friend feeds. The company roundly denies this, and execs may be telling the truth, but it does seem likely that Twitter will need to try something like this fairly soon, as it’s currently not making money despite its smash success with users.
As for me, I’m enjoying the innocent, ad-free days of Twitter, but I’ll be OK with it when those days end. I suppose it’s possible that Twitter will monetize its users some other way, but advertising is so dead-on obvious a play that it seems inevitable.
You know, I never thought an ad medium would develop which makes PPC ads seem like novels. Writing for tiny Twitter spaces is going to be an art form all its own. — Anne
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