Microsoft (MSFT), via its Federated Media ad network/platform/agency, is sponsoring a page that collects Tweets from various executives. Twitter will get an undisclosed payment for giving the site its stamp of approval and for promoting the site on Twitter itself. Federated says it plans on launching similar programs on Twitter with other clients.
Kafka explains that the little box on the Twitter home page that showed up lately was just as suspected. It will soon turn into an ad for this particular offering. Seems innocent enough. Of course, there will be Twitter purists who rail against the commercialization of the Twitterverse and the end of tweets as we know them. Probably a little overdone but everyone is entitled to an opinion.
What seems most curious is the fact that it is Microsoft that is putting the money into Twitter but as an advertiser. With Facebook they anted up for an ownership stake. Now they advertise with the service that has been making Facebook jump around a little as of late. Seems that Microsoft is in the “If you can’t beat’em, join’em’” phase of their Internet strategy. We could speculate all day long about what Microsoft is doing with their Internet strategy and come away with a Grade A migraine and little more for the effort.
There are a couple of good points that are raised by Kafka as well. One is the question of how many people will actually see the ads since most heavier Twitter users are using mobile applications or desktop apps like Tweet Deck to manage the information Twitter-storm that occurs 24/7. Personally my use of the Twitter.com site is for search related needs. If it wasn’t for the search.twitter.com/advanced page I may never actually need to go to my Twitter.com page. Come to think of it I still don’t since I go directly to the search page. Of course these ads will likely be on the search results page as well so I am sure I will get an eyeful.
The other point is that most people are just not going to be that excited about a page of tweets from executives. Most people like to poke fun at these people and call them twits rather than seek out what the latest thought on their mind is. As with all of these efforts to try something new, though, I reserve the right to be completely wrong because no one really knows what will and will not work in this brave new social media world. I have to say though that this one doesn’t really intrigue me. What about you?
So what’s your feeling about advertising and Twitter? Should the purists be more forgiving so that at least the service can make some money so it can stay around? Or should it just be there for the service of the Internet elite and not be soiled by that nasty capitalism thingy?