Twitter has been a monetization puzzle for many because it possesses enormous popularity and “mindshare” among the internet savvy, but does not present any straightforward way to make money. Attempts have been made to market through tweets or through the background wallpapers, but neither of these have been very successful thus far. The former is often seen as spam and the latter is largely overlooked by passing users.
Beamagpie, an automated twitter ad service, seemed to have the right idea because it allowed users to control how often ads were tweeted into their feeds and what kinds of ads were approved. Unfortunately the major failing of Beamagpie was the formatting of their ads. When you read one of their ad, it didn’t sound anything like anything a normal user would tweet. Instead it sounded a lot like an unsolicited email you might receive in your email inbox (aka, SPAM).
The controversy became personal when I was playing with Beamagpie and another service called Twtad (which I don’t recommend) and got complaints from some of my followers. It seems there are many on Twitter who don’t appreciate the introduction of ads to their “virgin country.” To some extent I agree with this sentiment, but if Twitter is to survive and thrive it must also grow and change. A revenue model, whether it is implemented by Twitter or its users, is an almost certain part of its future.
The same week that I decided to stop using Beamagpie, I discovered Betweeted. Inspired by Beamagpie, it has a similar interface, but the ad structure and syntax is different. When real users want to advertise something, they use a retweet. If you’re not familiar, a retweet is usually in this format: RT @user “previous message – link”. Essentially you’re sending a carbon copy of someone else’s message to all your followers.
Betweeted requires all of its advertisers to have an active Twitter account along with a website so that instead of traditional “ads,” Betweeted users can simply retweet. Best of all, the more interesting or well worded a retweet is, the more likely that other Twitter users will pass along the same link, producing even more paying clicks.
Like many Twitter ad sites, the interface is divided between twitterers and advertisers. This allows the two parties to work independently of one another. On the twitterer side (the only side I’ve used), advertisers are listed along with their pay/click value. Clicking through displays the maximum number of dollars that can be earned from each link (usually in the twenties, but often higher) as well as the link’s destination and information about the advertiser.
The interface is very new and still being developed so I don’t want to commit this article to too many details, but thus far I have been impressed with the transparency presented by Betweeted. @betweeted_com is the company’s Twitter account and I have gotten a great deal of support from them that way.
Just to be clear, Geeks Are Sexy does not endorse Betweeted and we will not be using it on our twitter feed. It’s just an interesting service and we figured we’d share it with you.
What do you think of ads on Twitter? I’m making a little bet with myself about what kinds of comments we’ll get on this article. Twitter ads are a contentious topic, to say the least, so feel free to share your thoughts, but do try to be courteous a the same time! Also @me on Twitter if you want a one-on-one dialogue.