Today, Twitter made a big announcement via their blog regarding paid tweets. The Twitter API has been open to developers to do with it whatever they like, aside from anything copyright infringing of course. For example, there have been Twitter mobile apps, tracking and management tools, and a medley of other services including ones that pay you to inject advertising messages into your timeline to be seen by your followers.
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Now, however, Twitter has announced that, “aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API.” This is bad news for Twittad, Magpie, Sponsored Tweets, Ad.ly and any other pay-to-tweet services out there.
Basically, they’re saying they want to be the only ones getting paid for tweets. The reason? Simple. Paid tweets dilute the user experience and add a hell of a lot of spam to the Twitter ecosystem. I’m paraphrasing of course, but that’s the gist of it. Here’s their official statement:
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.
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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.
But what about the companies that have put a lot of time and money into building these services?
We understand that for a few of these companies, the new Terms of Service prohibit activities in which they’ve invested time and money. We will continue to move as quickly as we can to deliver the Annotations capability to the market so that developers everywhere can create innovative new business solutions on the growing Twitter platform.
We hope that this clarity of purpose, focus, and roadmap helps point a clear way forward for the thousands of companies in the Twitter ecosystem.