Twitter Definitions Become Sponsored

    July 7, 2009

Back in March, Twitter gave us all a head-fake when they started posting “sponsored definitions,” definitions in a the sidebar of Twitter homepages that looked like ads. Twitter was quick to correct the assumption that they were, in fact, ads—they were only definitions, just like you get free from dictionaries.

Then, the boxes began carrying info on Twitter apps. Rather than paying for their placement, the featured apps were actually approached by Twitter. The apps being advertised didn’t pay to get there, so despite the fact that they were still called “sponsored definitions,” they weren’t ads. Nope, no way, nuh uh.

Well, now they are, apparently. Read Write Web reports that two of the “sponsored definitions,” for Cinema Tweets and the infamous ExecTweets, are really ads this time.


As RWW notes, these ads appear only on your Twitter homepage when you’re signed in, not on other Twitter users’ pages. However, since this ad format has been used since March, it’s possible that Tweeple will either a.) completely ignore the ads, just like the did the previous definitions, or b.) not realize these are ads, despite the “sponsored” marking (though we’ve seen that before ;) ).

What do you think? Are these really ads, or are they just more of the same? Will Twitter users click on ads unwittingly, ignore them completely, or somewhere in between?