Good For You, Twitter

May 24, 2010 at 4:58 PM (Happenings, Musings) (, , , )

This morning, TechCrunch posted an article about Twitter’s decision to prohibit all third parties from advertising within the tweet-stream.  My response?


twitter birdOne of the aspects of Twitter that I really appreciate is the lack of adverts that I can’t control interrupting my feed.  If I decide to follow someone who turns out to tweet only in spam or product promos, that’s my own fault and it’s my job to either live with it or un-follow the account.  I could grow used to banner and sidebar adverts (because let’s face it, if you want to use the free version of anything, chances are you have to see an advertisement somewhere on the site): eventually I just learn how to ignore them.  However, if one shows up in the middle of a game, page-load or – gasp – tweet stream, it becomes a lot tougher to overlook.

TechCrunch linked to the Twitter blog as well as highlighted a key passage outlining the reasons for the decision (emphasis added by yours, truly):

First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.

Secondly, the basis for building a lasting advertising network that benefits users should be innovation, not near-term monetization. Twitter is uniquely dependent on and responsible for the long-term health and value of the platform. Accordingly, a necessary focus of Promoted Tweets is to explore ways to create value for our users. Third party ad networks may be optimized for near-term monetization at the expense of innovating or creating the best user experience. We believe it is our responsibility to encourage creative product development and to curb practices that compromise innovation.

It is important to keep in mind that Twitter bears all the costs of maintaining the network, protecting the Tweet stream against spam, supporting user requests, and scaling the service. Indeed, Twitter will bear many of the support costs associated with any third-party paid Tweets, as Twitter receives support emails related to anything a user sees in a tweet stream. The third-party bears few of these costs by comparison.

Granted, as a non-advertiser, my opinion isn’t exactly unbiased, but as a recreational user, I’m pretty happy about the announcement.  Good for you, Twitter.

Today’s Tunes
“Quiet Times,” Dido
“Mediocre Bad Guys,” Jack Johnson
“December Baby,” Ingrid Michaelson

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