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Twitter Sells "Trending Topics" To Advertisers

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the this-just-in dept.

Advertising 67

destinyland writes "Twitter's 'Promoted Tweets' platform already allows advertisers to insert ads directly into its users' Twitter feeds. But advertisers will soon also be able to purchase spaces in the 'Trending Topics' area of Twitter. The space reserved for tracking topics seeing the most discussion will be sold for 'thousands of dollars a day,' according to advertisers who've been approached by Twitter, and while it could be a real cash cow for the service, some users argue that Twitter 'risks ruining the site if it lets the pursuit of profit interfere with the organic nature of the social network.'"

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SHHLLLRRRRUPPPPPP (0, Troll)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552580)

(insert giant sucking sound here)

Re:SHHLLLRRRRUPPPPPP (1)

Walzmyn (913748) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552910)

Do they really think tweeter can get any harder to read?

Re:SHHLLLRRRRUPPPPPP (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32556632)

I take a different approach - I find it trivially easy to not read it.

Ruining what? (4, Insightful)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552610)

I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore and the VC funds drying up might ruin the site a bit more. Nothing stays free forever.

Re:Ruining what? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552752)

I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore and the VC funds drying up might ruin the site a bit more.

I would think that that would improve it massively.

Re:Ruining what? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557550)

I would think that Twitter going away because they can't pay their bills anymore...

That might be nice, but unlikely. I prefer to simply regard Twitter as irrelevant. I never, ever go there, and I ignore any exhortations from others to do so. If they started hosting any worthwhile content, I could be pursuaded to change my position, but the whole process of digesting all content into a 140-byte premasticated turd does not bespeak a site worthy of attention.

Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552626)

So now the people can game the system and get advertisers to spend money on completely stupid topics!

Re:Awesome. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32553706)

So now the people can game the system and get advertisers to spend money on completely stupid topics!

Stupid topics that the businesses and mainstream media create in the first place!

It's got to be advertising company circle-jerking or masturbation. Can't decide which, or it is both?

Well duh...sooner or later (5, Insightful)

Izabael_DaJinn (1231856) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552634)

They have to turn a profit. Look at how over-run youtube has become. It's pretty annoying, but they did it gradually which helped silent the complaints.

Twitter will do the same. Slowly but surely making it lamer than it already is. Look at its profit forecasts (from wikipedia):

"Some of Twitter's documents covering revenue and user growth were published on TechCrunch after they were retrieved by the hacker, Croll Hacker. These contained internal projections that in 2009 they would have revenues of $400,000 in the third quarter (Q3) and $4 million in the fourth quarter (Q4) along with 25 million users at the end of the year. The projections for the end of 2013 were $1.54 billion in revenue, $111 million in net earnings, and 1 billion users.[1] No information about how Twitter plans to achieve those numbers has been published. Biz Stone published a blog post suggesting legal action for revealing the details was a possibility.[28]"\


I don't see how they can ever reach such high estimates no matter what they do. But they will certainly try.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

malv (882285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552698)

Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (4, Informative)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552806)

Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

I think the parent was referring to the obnoxiousness of the ads, not their existence.

If I remember correctly:

- One day there were no ads
- Next they started adding small graphic/text banners on the top right corner and shared revenue with top uploaders (?)
- Later they added a tiny text-ad bar above the movie player controls
- Then they increased the bar size to cover a quarter of the screen and made it stick around for longer
- And now they have full 15-30 second videos before popular videos begin to play

Not that I care, but they certainly did this gradually.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552834)

Did what gradually? One day there were no ads and the next day ads.

At "internet speed" a change that takes place over a day is gradual.
* Term: "Again?" - sometimes it shows up, sometimes not; vendor has no idea what's happening or why
* Term: "WTF?" : - hey, something changed and it wasn't there last time I refreshed
* Term: "Instant" : - announced by the vendor at the moment it is dumped upon the users
* Term: "Fast" : - it took minutes before it was too late to hit the Internet's "undo" button
* Term: "Slow" : - an hour after a program, product or site was written, announced or registered
* Term: "Gradual" : - it happens in a day (usually overnight)
* Term: "Glacial" : - and a month later the company finally made good on its promise/threat of the new service or product
* Term: "Eons" : - after months of delays and anticipation something finally happened which may or may not be what the company announced

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

agrif (960591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553058)

Personally, I've been waiting for Half-Life 2 Episode 3 since the Big Bang.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32553618)

It should be released in a new package called 'The Jaded Box,' which will include Team Fortress 3 and should hit shelves on about 2024.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#32554568)

So what is the internet speed term for Duke Nukem Forever?

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552810)

One billion users? There aren't even 2 billion people [internetworldstats.com] with internet access at all.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553512)

I think by "users" they mean "active accounts". I have five different accounts between my personal account and several projects, and I'm certainly not alone.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (3, Interesting)

migla (1099771) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552922)

I don' use twitter in any way, but I think I saw it's usefulness during the protests in Iran.

Imagine Twitter with Free code and a non-profit, donations based model. Surely humankind could set that up, everyone paying what they can. It should work, IMO. I'd pay some :s, just as soon as I can muster any income and a bank account. I expect the finances being open and any monetary need (for hosting or whatever) addressed swiftly by the haves of the community.

Incidentally, half the work has all ready been done: http://identi.ca/ [identi.ca] and http://status.net/ [status.net]

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553026)

Imagine Twitter with Free code and a non-profit, donations based model. -> I'd pay some :s, just as soon as I can muster any income and a bank account.

Yeah.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32557464)

> non-profit, donations based model. Surely humankind could set that up, everyone paying what they can.

I think you underestimate the reach and overestimate charity. This is something that could potentially be used by anyone with even a very basic cell phone, which means, potentially, damn near every human. Combine that notion with the implications of an another article I'd read recently: economic studies of Africa showed an awful lot of people living on $1/day who wouldn't spend $1/month to send their child to school or $5 on mosquito netting to protect against malaria, but who managed to get a $25 cell phone and regular alcohol and cigs.

I don't bring that up to criticize the individuals in the study, or to criticize human nature in general, just to point out that cell phone adoption is huge and people in general prioritize immediate things over long term things. In other words, the entire world would gladly use your system, and almost no one would pay anything for it unless it the cost was bundled into their phone's connection access fee. (and if wifi ends up in the low end phones, you'll even get a lot of people who get a used cheap phone and only use it for free internet access in public places and don't pay any access fees to anyone at all). We're up to 6.8 billion humans now, and 80% of us live on less than $10/day (and that's *after* purchasing power parity adjustment).

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (0, Troll)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553274)

They have to turn a profit. Look at how over-run youtube has become. It's pretty annoying, but they did it gradually which helped silent the complaints.

I'm surprised there's not been considerably much more outrage at Youtube actually. I find the Youtube site to be no longer usable. (In fact, it is actually completely impossible to use it with adblock and firefox -- does this mean I whitelist it? No, it means I use another video site.) While I understand that Google needs to raise revenue from youtube, the way they've done it does suggest they've lost sight of their users. It's like with the very huge public disaster that was the bing-style images on their homepage. Their entire success is built on the fact that the home page was minimal and their ads were contextual and non-intrusive. That formula made them billions -- now they're beginning to lose their way.

Twitter is different. It always has had a massive noise to signal ratio -- adding more noise in the way of advertising probably won't affect anyone much. It's core userbase has the attention span of a goldfish, they probably won't even notice the ads. Twitter was doomed from the second it launched -- it was always only a question of when, not if, it ceased to be the "next big thing". It's already peaked.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

apricotmuffins (950235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553724)

Wait, what? Impossible to use? Firefox and ablock plus, right here, and I can definately use the youtube site.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32555834)

Same here. And I also have never seen any ads on youtube at all.
Maybe because I use youtube to look at videos that regular people have made about subjects I'm interested in, like musical instruments... and I upload similar videos, stuff my family might want to see, fellow hobbyists, whatever.

I suppose it's different if you're watching just the "top videos," then you might see ads... but when you think about it, even if you DON'T see ads when you watch the top videos, you're watching ads anyway because the top stuff today is all just crap to hype some artificial pop culture trend or some instant celebrity gossip bullshit. All of which is created for and exists to make someone money down the line somewhere anyway.

Regular people sharing videos - the thing YouTube was created for in the first place? It still works pretty damned well at that.

Re:Well duh...sooner or later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32570182)

youtube has ads, but does not make profit.

big difference

twitter (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552644)

Okay poop is coming out now

Re:twitter (0, Offtopic)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552748)

Okay poop is coming out now

I'm amazed a reference to this got modded troll here.http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Re:twitter (4, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552832)

I'm amazed a reference to this got modded troll here.http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

Well, I for one didn't know the reference (thanks for the link), and would have considered the parent another annoying troll.

That's why I usually link to even semi-obscure references because I do not always assume that everyone reads/watches the same things as me.

Re:twitter (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552870)

That's why I usually link to even semi-obscure references because I do not always assume that everyone reads/watches the same things as me.

AC's can't be bothered to register an account, or even log in if they do, so don't get your hopes up that they'll actually link to a reference (no matter how obscure).

Re:twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32553730)

Exactly, a good proportion of AC are lazy discordian bastard and we intend to stay that way !!!

Re:twitter (-1, Offtopic)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552856)

Um, someone with mod points should check out the comic [penny-arcade.com] parent linked before modding him "Offtopic". I'm just sayin' ...

Re:twitter (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552872)

Okay poop is coming out now

I'm amazed a reference to this got modded troll here. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/ [penny-arcade.com]

That's okay, it's back up to 0, Informative.

Re:twitter (0, Troll)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552768)

Okay poop is coming out now

Quoting penny arcade [penny-arcade.com] is trolling now?

news sites already sell trending news (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552686)

This already has been happening in other areas. Many news sites sell information on trending stories.

Re:news sites already sell trending news (2, Interesting)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552774)

I believe the difference here is that, instead of a site monitoring which pages people are visiting, Twitter would be monitoring the user comments. While it's ridiculous to assume privacy through Twitter (since it's designed specifically to spread information), it still FEELS wrong.

Oh Horrors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552696)

The old joke goes, "What do you call a bus full of lawyers that runs off a bridge and drowns everyone in it? A good start."

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn could all disappear from the face of the earth and many of us would hardly notice. Pandering to young exhibitionists may be a good business model, sort of like feeding tripe over the airwaves, cable or satellite to television receivers is a good business model, but it certainly has not done much for humanity except generate more tripe over about the ever more invasive privacy violations of these sites. A pox upon them all, and good riddance.

THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552712)

This is a good thing for all concerned.

I really hope ... (5, Funny)

internetcommie (945194) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552724)

... that the advertisements also are limited to 140 signs!

Ruining the site? (1)

adenied (120700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552754)

They also risk ruining the site if they go out of business because they couldn't find a way to make money.

Re:Ruining the site? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553440)

How would that ruin the site? It would be an improvement.

So? (4, Insightful)

CasualFriday (1804992) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552766)

Nothing is going to happen. People are going to happily continue tweeting. They might notice the ads, say "Oh, look at that", and continue on their merry way. If facebook's privacy problems don't discourage users, this definitely won't.

Re:So? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32557656)

People are going to happily continue tweeting.

Exactly. Twitter is not there for people to read something they are actually interested in. It is a soapbox for people to stand on while they yell "I JUST DROPPED AN ENORMOUS CRAP" (31 characters). Nobody actually reads this rubbish, twits are just twittering into a void. But if it keeps them away from sites that I do visit, then Twitter does at least have one useful purpose.

Can twitter be decentralized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552780)

It seems like the tech behind twitter ain't that hard to emulate. Is it time to revisit the idea of decentralizing [techcrunch.com] Twitter? With a migration path to make commercial Twitter itself one of several interconnected-nodes in a larger (trust-based?) 140-char microblogging network?

Re:Can twitter be decentralized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32552838)

So.... turn twitter into ICQ?

Re:Can twitter be decentralized? (3, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552938)

I believe Sir is speaking of StatusNet [status.net] and identi.ca [identi.ca] .

Too bad they can't do... (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552794)

what Wikipedia does.

Twitter 'risks ruining the site' (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552828)

some users argue that Twitter 'risks ruining the site if it lets the pursuit of profit interfere with the organic nature of the social network.'

Twitter risks running out of money if it lets the organic nature of the social network interfere with the pursuit of profit. Then how will you tell your friends what color your last bowel movement was? You're Facebook friends with Grandma now, do you think she wants to read that? Wait, old people do talk about that stuff. Carry on.

Internet's achillies heel is the it's free myth (2, Interesting)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552858)

The Internet has always had the reputation of being "free", when it never has been. In the past it was supported by academic and government (military) sources whose realized value in the either the free flow of information and/or an uninterpretable flow of information. It has since moved on to be maintained by businesses that what want to generate revenue from supporting it. There's nothing inherently evil in this, they provide a service and you pay for it one way or another. It used to be in taxes, tuition, etc... now it's in subscriptions, advertising hits, etc. The problem is the myth that the internet is "free" is still very much ingrained and people will use all sorts of sites and provide a ridiculous amount of information without ever stopping to thing that these sites are (generally) not run out of charity and will extract their pound of flesh in some manner.

Who cares (3, Insightful)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552866)

This may be a first in that ads may carry more 'content'
than the user contributions.

How about..? (1)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552868)

How about making good products, so users will advertise it anyway by word of mouth?

Re:How about..? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553344)

using the internet to sell products is soooooooooooooooooo web 1.0! it's all about b.s. "services" that don't really create added value now. This is why I ditched my twitter account a couple of days ago after they updated the api use agreement for third-party clients to force urls through their own filters for statistic gathering. I'm quickly losing any reason to care about FB, too. It's been going down hill a lot faster lately. It was pretty useful when it was still colleges-only though.

I mean, Jesus. wtf. (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552918)

If they're going to sell ads, why not sell ads that look like ads? Why do they have to mess around with insinuating them into the service?

I mean, I pay nothing to post on Twitter. Put an ad in the corner. I promise not to run away.

Re:I mean, Jesus. wtf. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553178)

If they're going to sell ads, why not sell ads that look like ads? ... Put an ad in the corner. I promise not to run away.

Because of Ad Block, GreaseMonkey, and the great work the brain does in training itself not to look at ads when they become prevalent on the page. So by sneaking them into shit like trending topics or making random tweets actually ads, it's harder to train your mind or software to ignore them.

Personally I don't use twitter.com for anything and I have clicked a trending topic once or twice ever. Since they are never relevant to me they just don't matter. This will obviously not change that.

I don't have a Tweeter account, so (1)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32552972)

I'll just post my twits here.
Here's my first one: "Um. Well. I don't really know what to say, here. Ah, just, ah. I guess that's it."
I hope I didn't go over the limit. Did everyone read that? Check back soon for more.
Also, check out my cool pages on MyFace and SpaceBook.

Steve Gibson calls it again (3, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553008)

As the following blog post http://steve.grc.com/2010/05/24/facebook-and-the-ford-pinto/ [grc.com] points out:

Unfortunately, the only "asset" Facebook has to monetize is the wealth of personal information that has been poured into the system by every one of those 400 million users. Facebook has understood this from day one, its user community has not.

Ditto for Twitter.

Re:Steve Gibson calls it again (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32558428)

Unfortunately, the only "asset" Facebook has to monetize is the wealth of personal information that has been poured into the system by every one of those 400 million users. Facebook has understood this from day one, its user community has not.

Ditto for Twitter.

I disagree completely, Twitter is more akin to SMS and Google search services.

People don't generally share personal info info on twitter (some may), but they communicate THROUGH Twitter. Twitter is just group SMS, where interested parties can listen and share.

One of the biggest strengths of it is the ability to search these real time communications. (For example, you search it before you drive to find out the condition of traffic on your route, you automatically receive alerts of where speed traps might be, you find out what's going on by being told, rather than having to seek info you might have been ignorant of desiring.)

You could delete all the prior messages up to this point in time, and the value of the Twitter service remains unchanged.

They've been doing it (4, Interesting)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553036)

Twitter has been manipulating their trending topics for a while now. In the past they've added big live events like sports contests to their trending topics when, in my analysis, those topics simply weren't trending. How do I know? I spent some time trying to build a long-term trending topics list using the public_timeline feeds. There were obvious items there that were underrepresented in the actual tweets. They should label these "sponsored topics" as such.

Who cares about the trending topics? (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553076)

I mean, among those who do care for Twitter.

Re:Who cares about the trending topics? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32553796)

They can bring a bit of entertainment if youre utterly bored, however most of my twitter use tends to be though the htcpeep client on my HD2. thus i can see the need to insert the ads as random tweets in your feed, because how else are they going to get them to all the users that use apps on their phones to upload and view tweets?

I just hope these randomly inserted ad tweets and trending topics are clearly marked as such.

Re:Who cares about the trending topics? (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32555854)

Well I won't see those ads either because since I'm self-centered (the reason I use twitter in the first place) I don't read other people's tweets, I just tweet my own and expect them to be read and cherished.

Who uses the web site? (1)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553332)

As I understand it, it the ads will only be on the web site or on certain subscription only channels.

Who on earth uses Twitter's web site to use Twitter's data? It's quite possibly the worst interface to the service that exists. Maybe 10% of the users I follow ever post from web.

And if you want to subscribe to the all ad channel, then .. well, you're using Twitter in the way that all the microblogging haters love to make fun of, and frankly, you're doing it wrong.

Currently trending (1)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32553634)

  • #thingsblackpeopledontdo
  • Mini Lady Gaga
  • #worldcup
  • Oil Spill
  • A-Team

...and nothing of value was lost.

Only a twit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32553770)

uses twitter.

Excellent! My plan is working perfectly (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32554792)

As your monopoly service provider with very low data limit caps, I plan on profiting very handsomely, by making you pay to receive lots and lots of ads..

And (1)

mahadiga (1346169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32555856)

Sell Twitter to Google. They'll know how to generate revenue.

No it does not! (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32558482)

Twitter's 'Promoted Tweets' platform already allows advertisers to insert ads directly into its users' Twitter feeds.

No it does not.

As detailed here, promoted tweets [twitter.com] are NOT displayed in user's feeds at all, but only in search results currently.

They do go on to explain they will review feedback, and potentially expand them, keeping the option open to include them in users' feeds, specifically if there's value in doing so.

I search and use the service daily, and have yet to receive a single ad.

Great news. (1)

fb developer georgia (1833036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32562826)

I think the users will just ignore the ads just like everyone does at facebook. Unless some ad of their interest POPS out! All in all, great news for twitter and the advertisers to gain more and more profit! Thanks.

youtube not making a profit and it sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32569626)

youtube doenst make a profit.. who ever said that is dead wrong

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