Twitter Inc., the social-networking service whose users post about 50 million short messages a day, will start running advertising to generate sales from marketers eager to reach its audience.
The blogging site, founded in 2006, will carry “promoted tweets” from advertisers including Best Buy Inc. and Starbucks Inc., according to a blog post from the company today. At the outset, the ads will appear at the top of search pages.
Twitter's strategy is a canny one. It has made its application programming interface widely available to the developer community, who have fallen over themselves to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Indeed, much of Twitter's success stems from the ecosystem created by these software writers: they have made it possible to automatically shorten web addresses in a tweet to make it easier to stick to the 140 character limit;
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they have streamlined the process of sharing photos through the microblogging site; they've made it easy for people to manage and keep track of multiple Twitter accounts through their desktop or mobile phone; and have made it possible to search Twitter for trending topics, create and share lists of interesting Twitter users, and even get instant answers to questions.
Stone stressed that "there is not a single 'ad' in our Promoted Tweets platform that isn't already an organic part of Twitter. This is distinct from both traditional search advertising and more recent social advertising."
"This announcement is a long time coming and we're thrilled to finally be able to share it with you," Stone concluded. "As this project matures, there will be more to talk about."