April 14, 2010

Twitter to launch ad platform, puts pressure on third parties

Twitter wasn’t always as big as it is today. In fact, they were quite small for years before going mainstream, but one question has remained: How will this service be monetized? It’s not a shocker, but they are on schedule to officially launch their Google Adwords-like ad platform on Wednesday at their Chirp conference.

TechCrunch reports it is rumored to work much like Google’s model. Twitter will allow third parties to bid on individual keywords, with ads displaying above related terms in search results and hash tag instances. This should provide contextual ads that are relevant to the content you are viewing.

Up until now, third party Twitter clients have integrated their own ads, but with this new platform they will be able to opt-in to Twitter’s platform and benefit through revenue-sharing.

Consolidating the short-messaging service seems to be a focus for Twitter with their recent acquisition of Atebit’s Tweetie client, introduction of @anywhere service, and purchase of the twee.tt domain name. Although Twitter is making concessions for third party clients through their ad platform, companies with business models based solely on the Twitter service have to worry that they are being pushed-out to some extent. There is now an official Twitter client and it’s possible that URL shortening could be moving in-house as well.

Referring to Twitter’s recent client pushes, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch said, “Anyone who didn’t see this coming was in denial.” One thing is for sure, Twitter is interested in capitalizing on its ecosystem and is increasingly less interested in allowing third parties to control large chunks of the space.

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