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Is Twitter Selling the Goose or the Golden Eggs?

Just yesterday I was telling a friend that one of the reasons I like Twitter is choosing who I follow, and unfollowing the ones whose tweets I don’t like. And then I saw this…

… in my tweet stream this morning.
At first I was confused. I don’t follow Victoria’s Secret. I clicked on the account handle, and checked, to make sure. So why would I see that tweet? But then I saw the yellow “promoted” icon, highlighted in the illustration. Of course. Twitter is charging to put ads into my tweet stream.
I think Twitter is playing loose with its core value here. The follow or unfollow choice is a great anti-spam device. Selling ads destroys that.
“Monetization” is the web buzzword for figuring out how to make money from traffic. I don’t know what Twitter should do about it. I don’t blame them for trying. But I wonder how this can work. If they sell too many ads, they kill the value. If they don’t, it doesn’t make them money. That’s a tough business decision. Are they selling the golden eggs, or killing the goose?


2 thoughts on “Is Twitter Selling the Goose or the Golden Eggs?”

  1. Excellent point.
    So far they’ve been slipping in the ads once a day, and they’ll make the ad the 3rd in the stream. Right now the ads are mildly annoying, but if they increase the frequency of the ads, they really risk strangling their ‘goose’ and letting competitors gain traction.

    1. Thanks Gary, and yes, exactly. Interesting problem though, because if they don’t put in a lot of them it’s hard to see that it generates real money, but if they do, all their users are going to dislike it a lot. Tim

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