Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on January 12th, 2010

Are We Ready For Paid Tweets?

Have you heard of the 4-month old, Los Angeles startup, They are an “In-Stream” advertising agency that is “connecting top tier twitterers with top tier brands”. Simply put, they insert paid tweets for brands among the regular tweets of highly-influential tweeters. already has Kim Kardashian, Dr. Drew, and Soulja Boy sending out paid tweets to each of their 2.8 or so million followers.

Many news sites have been successfully leveraging Twitter to distribute their stories and build new audiences, but they aren’t making money from these tweets yet. However, news sites are launching some early exploration into this new and, possibly, lucrative venture.

The New York Times, who has 2.3 million followers for its main feed, hasn’t made the move to paid tweets because they want to “wait-and-see” if audiences can really grasp the difference between paid and real tweets. Instead, The New York Times Online is selling packages of ads that appear specifically for visitors who have arrived via Twitter and Facebook. Advertisers can buy a percentage of shares of such readers, so a page that receives a certain amount of visitors via social media will show that advertiser’s ad to their percentage.

What we’ve seen over the last year or so is an effort to monetize all the traffic arriving from social media to websites that feel they deserve money for their content. The success of this current effort to put together a paid tweeting campaign is too early to gauge. But this process seems likely to deliver paid tweets to news feeds very soon. More than a few believe Twitter is media just like any other media format, perfectly able to support advertising as long as its relevant and used with restraint., who connects Twitterers with advertisers, has plans to introduce an algorithm sometime this month. The algorithm aims to tie pricing for paid tweets with the quality of the individual feed, while taking in consideration retweeting and how much advertising a feed can handle.

So far, no big news publishers have signed up for’s tweeting services, but the buzz is that a few are highly intrigued. 2009 just saw the beginning of “Twitter-Madness”, but the best is yet to come. Paid tweeting will be a highly-sought after marketing channel for at least the next year, unless some massive campaign monumentally crushes the not only the channel, but the branding of its vehicle, Twitter. As long as Twitter is relevant, paid tweeting will prosper. But once the next best thing comes along, we should see this cycle start over.

Are you interested in a Social Media Optimization? It just so happens that SMO is a little more than a hobby around the Volacci office. Although not one of our main services, we are definitely interested in discussing how we can help your brand and business within the online social realm. Give us a call today, or fill out a form for our Account Manager, Josh Ward, to give you a call at your convenience.