Chitika risks Twitter marketing noise for sake of a competition

Filed as News on March 10, 2009 2:22 am

Online advertising service Chitika is risking the wrath of the Twitter community by launching a competition that encourages its users to tweet the same daily message to its followers in order to gain credits for a new competition.

The upcoming SearchAppalooza competition will be held at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in New York on 24th March, where five finalists will present their search applications to a board of judges including those from Microsoft and Yahoo!

That competition is all well and good, but the issue is with how Chitika is encouraging the word to be spread. For the chance to win an Amazon Kindle 2, Twitter users should tweet the following, verbatim:

Chitika contest: Best Search App of 09. 5 Winners present to MS/Yahoo execs and @jenstar! #searchAppalooza http://snurl.com/d6l3h

Each day this is tweeted, the user receives another contest entry.

I’ve already seen this once, and I expect I’ll see it a lot more. I don’t have a problem with people promoting competitions, but it would have been better if Chitika picked the most creative tweet, or allowed some form of variation, because for the next x days (I don’t know when the closing date is, but potentially it’ll last for two weeks) these identical tweets are going to flood the service.

At least, if this takes off, they will. I’m keeping a count. How many will you have spotted by 24th March, and what do you think of this kind of competition?

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  1. By Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach posted on March 10, 2009 at 2:59 am
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    Ouch, not wise. Magpie users are already annoying…now Chikita? Ick.

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  2. By Dan posted on March 10, 2009 at 3:49 am
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    How awful. I think anyone who tweets it more than once is getting blocked. In fact, anyone who tweets it at least once. I’m taking no prisoners…

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  3. By Ben Werdmuller posted on March 10, 2009 at 4:26 am
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    Cliqset is another company doing the same thing. It seems short-sighted to me: it’s crowdsourcing spam, really, and how long are people going to put up with that for?

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  4. By Casper Moller posted on March 10, 2009 at 4:49 am
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    That is truly dumb – and sorry for being so blunt… Maybe they just don’t understand the dynamics of Twitter – and they will risk the wrath of the users in the (vain and deluded?) hope they will get enough press coverage – and we’re helping them right now – to actually pick up a prospective client meeting or two from somebody who hasn’t bothered to understand why what they’re doing is actually a bad thing.

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  5. By Andy Merrett posted on March 10, 2009 at 5:00 am
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    Yeah, it’s true that the noise about this competition could equal or surpass the number of actual tweets. Perhaps Chitika is working on the “no such thing as bad publicity” principle.

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  6. By Casper Moller posted on March 10, 2009 at 5:43 am
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    Exactly!

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  7. By Alden DoRosario (Chitika) posted on March 10, 2009 at 11:03 am
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    The lines between “marketing noise” and “viral campaigns” on Twitter is pretty gray right now. The same sort of animosity was evident when the first Internet banner ad went up around 1995. Only time will tell ..

    What I do know is: This is a super opportunity for search app developers and startups to showcase their apps in front of a who’s who of search.

    Think about it guys: Chitika could have spent these tens of thousands of dollars that we are spending on this workshop on some self-serving demo or workshop. Instead we thought it would be better to let app developers showcase their apps — and hopefully get some recognition/business in front of a key audience.

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  8. By Internet Strategist posted on March 10, 2009 at 12:41 pm
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    @Alden Did Chitika consider the negative effect retweeting this one specific message over and over could have on your brand? I am currently researching your offerings which is what prompted me to read this post.

    I would love to help you promote your workshop – I just don’t think repeating the same Tweet over and over is going to be a good way to do it. Twitter users seem to have a low threshold for duplicate content.

    I have often considered posting that if you aren’t willing to read Tweet’s about someone else’s business or event why should you think anyone would read yours.

    More tolerance would be a very good thing. For now it might be best to be more creative in how we get the word out.

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  9. By Andy Merrett posted on March 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm
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    Thanks for your feedback, Alden. As I said in the original article, I think the aim could’ve been better served by allowing people to inject their own creativity into their tweets.

    While some may still have complained, it would at least have spared us from the having to read the exact same message over and over. I wonder how long it will be before @Jensense replies will be back to normal?

    In actual fact, I never questioned the competition itself — great idea. It’s the method of promotion that is alienating a lot of people and, unfortunately, by association the event itself has the potential to be tainted.

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  10. By Bryant Johnson (DBJohnson) posted on March 11, 2009 at 3:47 pm
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    I will not put up with it and will tweet to my followers that I will unfollow if I get a repeat of such a message. Once is enough. Beyond that, I’m not only not interested…I’m ticked.

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  11. By Kathy Mills posted on March 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm
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    I think it’ll backfire on them, and it’s not even an interesting tweet. I probably wouldn’t have glanced twice at it. I agree that a more effective tactic would be a contest for most interesting tweet or something to create excitement. This isn’t going to do it, though. It’s just noise.

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  12. By Internet posted on March 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm
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    @Bryant Given that each Tweet is usually only displayed for an estimated five minutes and most of us read only a tiny fraction of Tweets that scroll by is it really that serious if you see a message a couple times?

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