Biz Stone Prefers Be-A-Magpie to Twittad

Filed as Features on December 10, 2008 3:38 am

TwitterLos Angeles Times runs a piece on Twitter, focusing on how to make money on the service. They’ve got co-founder Biz Stone to mention some of the models considered, like the corporate accounts approach, as well as identity verification. I like that last one, it is funny since it point to a flaw in social media rather than actually adds something that shouldn’t already be there:

“Like, users who want to know: is that the real Shaquille O’Neal or not?” Stone said. “Maybe we could help users by saying, Yup, definitely the real Shaquille O’Neal. That’s a real account. We checked with them.”

That being said, the article is more focused on the ad services already running on Twitter, especially since Stone himself doesn’t consider ads at this time. Twittad is mentioned, obviously a more successful service that I could’ve guessed.

The third-party service, launched in August, has attracted more than 1,600 sign-ups and 170 advertisers, according to James Eliason, founder and chief executive of Twittad, a Des Moines, Iowa, company.

Now, the article doesn’t state what the company, nor the actual twitterers, made from these campaigns, but still.

Another one is Be-A-Magpie, the pay-per-tweet service that pumps out paid tweets to your followers. We’ve mentioned it before, and I can’t say I’m very fond of the thought myself. Then again, it kind of depends on how you use Twitter. For me, it is a way to communicate with my followers, hence I’m speaking. For a service or a site, it is an ad among the content, much like the ads you can see on a website. And the paid tweets are labeled not always labeled, so although I doubt the average Magpie user will be transparent about it, it is possible to see which tweets that at least some of the tweets are ads through the #magpie hashtag or similar.

Biz Stone is obviously not against services like Be-A-Magpie, at least not openly. This is what he said to LA Times:

“I think any kinds of projects that focus more on the Twitter updates are more compelling,” Stone said.

Maybe that is a sign of what might come, should Twitter need to monetize quickly?

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  1. By John posted on December 10, 2008 at 8:19 am
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    If Twitter wants to pump ads into the streams of users, or if users want to pump ads into their conversations..that will be the end of Twitter and people will move on to another site.

    As a Individual, it makes sense to want to monetize your Twitter stream b/c its kind of like your blog. Imagine if the only way to monetize was to pump ads through to your followers. Then imagine if 60-80% of your followers or followings were doing the same thing? You would have to filter what is a ad and what is actual conversation, which is what Twitter was built on. The only way to distribute ads is in the fashion that Twittad.com has built it. Ad backgrounds..(that are clickable) and revenue share with the users.

    I am VERY dissapointed to hear that Biz prefers the ads in Tweets. We will see what @ev thinks, after all..he is running the show now.

    Reply

  2. By Marcus posted on December 10, 2008 at 8:25 am
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    When you mention that the #Magpie tweets are hashtagged..that is incorrect. Users can now make their own # or they can remove the # completely from the ad tweet. Very bad for Twitter! I think they should decide on a ad model and limit the access to the API to stop more Magpie in tweet ad models from popping up. If they dont, they will see the casual Twitter user leave b/c of the Ad SPAM.

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  3. By Julie posted on December 10, 2008 at 9:25 am
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    I agree with John about the concern that 60 – 80% of the people you follow could be sending out ads and that would be frustrating. I’m also drawing the conclustion that these “corporate accounts” that Biz talks about are probably very large, national companies. So where does that leave the local coffee shops and music venues, etc.? What I like about Twittad is that it is non intrusive and it also allows Twitter to do what Twitter does best… allow people to talk about what’s going on. I’ve seen several instances where someone’s profile sold on Twittad and the profile owner started tweeting about it… on their own…in their own words. They started converstions about the company who bought the ad, others chimed in… It was organic and real and the way conversations on Twitter are supposed to be. So far I think Twittad is still the most promising Twitter advertising model.

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  4. By Thord Daniel Hedengren posted on December 10, 2008 at 10:25 am
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    Can someone confirm that the hastag is optional now?

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  5. By Marcus posted on December 10, 2008 at 10:56 am
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    TD-

    check out this link to the TechCrunch article on MagPie. In the comments section their founder talks about how they changed the #magpie to allow users to make their own like #ad, or completely remove the notification.

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/11/23/be-a-magpie-is-payperpost-for-twitter/

    to recap what he said:

    “- Customizing the disclaimer. Mike, you also mention that ads weren’t clearly marked as such. We started by using #magpie as a disclaimer to both tell followers that this is not the Twitterer’s own tweet and to build our own brand a little. We’re allowing users now to use their own disclaimer like “ad” or “sponsored”. However, a lot of people (not referring to advertisers here) were asking to omit the disclaimer.”

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  6. By Thord Daniel Hedengren posted on December 11, 2008 at 9:02 am
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    Thanks Marcus, post slightly updated!

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  7. By James posted on March 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm
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    TD- Just getting around to commenting on many of the new articles that were written about us from December-today. My name is James Eliason and I am Founder/CEO of Twittad.com.

    We have seen amazing growth over the past few months, since you have written this article. We have over 3,000 Twitter users signed up that on average have close to 600 followers. Even if you take a agressive 35-45% overlap of followers our network can reach a estimated 990K-1.17 million consumers on Twitter. And as Twitter continues to grow and becomes more mainstream this network will only get larger.

    This Friday March 13th, we are rolling out some new features that I invite you to take a look at. We are introducing a Opt-In Advertiser Campaign program, where advertisers can tell our system, who they want to target, how much they are willing to pay them and for how long a Twitter user has to serve the ad on their profile (3 days, 7 days, 15 days) included in this model is our 2 “promo” tweets that are sent out to all the users followers when the ad is placed and when it is removed. This non-intrusive form of in tweet advertising is something we have done now for the last 4 months with no negative feedback from the Twitter community.

    This space is always changing, and we hope that we can keep up with the movements to provide a real opportunity for Twitter users to monetize and for advertisers to draw real consumer engagement on Twitter.

    Cheers-
    James Eliason
    Founder/CEO Twittad.com
    [email protected]

    Reply

  8. By betweeted posted on April 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm
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    Be-A-Magpie actually inspired me. I signed up 2 weeks ago, learned within 30-seconds that they auto-tweeted using my account and I wasn’t cool with that. So, I went immediately into dev. Today, 4/29/09, we launched betweeted.com — I call it “socially responsible” advertising on Twitter.

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