The money-making ability of Twitter has long been a point of contention. Is the micro-blog site capable of producing ad revenue along the same lines as Google?
With the expanded capabilities of Twitter's "Promoted Tweets" program, we're about to find out just how successful the service can be when it comes to advertising. As detailed on their latest blog entry, "Promoted Tweets" are going to be more and more prominent on user time lines, whether you want them or not. Granted, the ads can, according to Twitter, be easily dismissed and judging from the examples, they aren't intrusive at all. That being said, there's still backlash whenever a popular service changes things for the sake of advertising money.
These promoted updates will start appearing in timelines as of now, and they are not limited to businesses, either. Non-profits seeking donations will also be viewable. The blog post has more:
That's why starting today, we're introducing a way to ensure that the most important Tweets from the organizations you follow reach you directly, by placing them at or near the top of your timeline. These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet, and like regular Tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once. Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click.
The updated service is available to a particular group of Twitter members, as well. The idea is, if these prove to be successful, Twitter's expanded advertising service will open up to additional members, although, there's been no deadline set on that particular detail:
We’ll be rolling out and testing this new offering over the next several weeks with a select group of partners, including Best Western, Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, HBO, JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft Xbox, Red Bull, Sephora, Starbucks, Summit Entertainment’s “50/50”, TNT and Virgin America among others — with more to come soon. During this phase, you may also see Promoted Tweets in your timeline from non-profit organizations you follow, including charity: water, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Room to Read, The American Red Cross and Water.org.
It's assumed that these companies would have to be a Twitter account that's being followed before the promoted tweets start appearing in your timeline, although, Twitter does not differentiate. There is, however, a detail about "when you decide to follow your favorite brand," which leads one to believe that if you aren't following Dell, HBO, Starbucks or Red Bull, et al, the promoted tweets from these companies -- and more -- won't be appearing in your timeline.