15 Comments

Summary:

Paid tweeting is nothing new. We’ve all seen spam users and posts in our Twitter feed and our following list, but usually the attempts are painfully obvious and easily dismissed. A new venture, Sponsored Tweets, by IZEA founder Ted Murphy (the guy with the tongue, in […]

sponsored_tweetsPaid tweeting is nothing new. We’ve all seen spam users and posts in our Twitter feed and our following list, but usually the attempts are painfully obvious and easily dismissed. A new venture, Sponsored Tweets, by IZEA founder Ted Murphy (the guy with the tongue, in case you, like me, didn’t recognize the name but know the face) is bringing sponsored tweeting to the mainstream, and he has a pack of celebrities, both traditional and online,  to back him up.

The idea is simple: companies pay Twitter users to mention their products in a favorable light. It’s paid content, not uncommon in the blogging world, brought to micro-blogging for the first time in a concerted, organized and coherent way. It even includes an attempt at transparency, via a “disclosure engine,” use of which is required for Sponsored Tweets posts.

For celebrity bloggers like Jessica Gottlieb, it’s a system that pays admirably. For every sponsored tweet she makes, she’s compensated to the tune of around $22, according to a Fast Company article on the new service by Lydia Dishman. Dishman’s own sponsored tweets would only be worth about $3 by comparison. Sponsored Tweets takes into account your number of followers and the frequency of your posting, among other factors, when determining your rate of compensation.

Arguments in favor of and against the scheme have already been popping up all over the place, with people making good points on both sides. Personally, I like to keep social networking and advertising as separate as possible, and have been known to delete Facebook friends after receiving a pitch message. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the same sort of thing on Twitter, since a 140-character tweet in my stream is much easier to ignore than a message that triggers an email, but at first blush, it isn’t something that sits well with me. I think the degree to which it becomes popular will end up having a lot to do with how tolerant I am of paid tweeting.

What are your thoughts on Sponsored Tweets? Do you produce paid content as a web worker already, and would you consider moving into this new space? How do you see tweet sponsoring affecting your Twitter usage, if at all?

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  1. Sorry, I just think it is funny that you know my avatar but not my name : )-

  2. It’ll all work itself out in time. If people get too annoyed with someone’s sponsored tweets, they’ll stop following.

    If not, it’s because of one of two reasons (or both):
    1. They are infrequent enough to not really be a bother.
    2. They are actually useful, and people are finding out about things they want.

    Either of those is at least a win-win-semiwin.

    It’s obviously a win for sponsored tweeters. It’s a win for advertisers because people see their ads. And it’s at least a semiwin for followers since they could be being enhanced.

    1. But it’s not so obviously a win for sponsored tweeters. In fact, I think it’s a net LOSS for them – a loss of credibility. It cheapens them and their “brand” for me.

  3. I’m in the sponsored tweets program (although I haven’t accepted, or declined, any offers yet)…I think sponsored conversations will work better than sponsred tweets will

  4. This isn’t too bad in principle – celebrities and well-known figures have been endorsing brands, products and causes for years.

    The only thing for me is that it should be plainly obvious that the tweet is a Sponsored Tweet, like having a #ST hashtag in there, you would only lose 3 characters and then I can tell the diference between someone’s true opinion and an endorsement; this is very easy to spot on TV, but less so on Twitter.

    Without this you will lose a certain amount of trust and integrity and we all know how hard these are to come by nowadays.

  5. I would be totally against the whole idea.

    At first, it may seem not so bad, but as more companies catch wind of the idea your whole twitter stream will be nothing but ‘sponsored tweets’. As there is spamming and promoting already taking place, for the most part – it’s nice to have genuine, authentic feeds. Instead of cluttering your stream, why not have sponsored ads on the sides in the same efforts Facebook has shown. This I don’t mind — it’s like driving down a highway and having billboards along side the road, you look and keep going, but if they were in the middle of the road it would be ‘cluttered’ and would have to make an effort to bypass them.

  6. I will unfollow and block anyone who ends up using a sponsored Tweet service. They are nothing more than bandwidth hijacking spam injection systems and provide absolutely NO benefit to the Twitter community. They only cost users of such services credibility, followers, and the respect of people who cannot stand spammers.

  7. Eric,
    and if streams become cluttered, people will “unfollow” and the advertising won’t work…and how long ’til companies catch wind of that?

  8. Hey Mark…
    You are right; the advertising will not have worked if I choose to ‘unfollow’. But that is the issue, I don’t want to have to ‘unfollow’ someone because of their sponsored tweat overload. This could be a person who produces great tweets/content in which I look forward to, now because of this, I will be missing out on. I am all for social network advertising, just not within our feeds. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and how the twitter community reacts.

  9. Mutiny Afoot: Could the Commercialization of User-Generated Content Backfire? « Commercial Speech Thursday, August 13, 2009

    [...] have value — as the long-established mommy blogger gravy train and emerging market for sponsored tweets tesify – so why should employees who have invested in their own personal brands and [...]

  10. I never liked the idea of making money from tweets, but Sponsored tweet is one of few programs which I actually liked…
    Probably control over ad tweets is something which I always wanted..and since its been recommended by some big players..I dont mind trying it out…

    1. How many blogs did you copy/paste that comment to? You’ve posted the exact same comment on at least two different blogs that I’m subscribed to.

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