After four years and more than 10 billion tweets, Twitter will finally start making a few bucks.
Twitter announced today that it is launching a new program called Promoted Tweets, which will allow companies to buy ad space on the site. “When a Twitter user searches for a word an advertiser bought, the promoted message will show up at the top of the results, even if it was written much earlier,” The New York Times reports. These posts will be clearly labeled as ads, but the hope, according to the Times, is that these sponsored tweets will allow companies a new way to “enter the conversation.”
Twitter’s founders had previously denied that money was their primary focus in starting the site. But over the past year, there were plenty of rumors that Twitter was experimenting with ads in the past. According to CNET, some users actually spotted a couple of ads late one night in March 2009, though the company later denied it. And some celebrities and popular Twitter users already earn money for tweeting promotional content. Yet, Promoted Tweets is the first advertising system.
Ultimately, there is very little that is revolutionary about this ad model. As ReadWriteWeb notes, their plan is “downright boring” and that’s probably for the best. The ads are unlikely to disrupt the user’s experience very much, since the ads only show up when you search for something, and not when you are just checking your friends’ feeds.