As reported by Scobleizer, the COO of Twitter Dick Costolo said that Twitter was "going to turn on an advertising model". The challenge of course; how will advertising be presented and accepted on this 140 character social platform? Twitter culturally, has been free of advertising - a change might not be well received.
Mr. Scoble suggested the "Super Tweet", which is contextual advertising that is linked to a "tweet", yet is viewable ONLY when the reader clicks or hovers over the content. We had two reactions - wow, great idea... and yet be careful how this is executed and implemented.
First, the idea would have advertising that relates to the tweet content. Scoble uses the example of a tweet telling us what is happening - "I am going to see the movie 2012". An advertisement or link could be presented to Fandango or Coca-Cola (ie giving a coupon for a soda at participating theaters). And the ad would NOT be viewed unless the reader clicks or hovers over the tweet. Otherwise, we assume that the tweet looks like it does today (and we mean no hypertext or coloration to change the look of the tweet).
Where we have concerns: Tweet content is - we believe - owned by the author. Twitter owns the platform, but the writer owns the content - and represents what he/she writes. Therefore, does Twitter have the "right" to present an ad placed on "my" content. We don't think so - unless, by agreement, we share in the ad revenue. If we agree to accept revenue, then we are deferring our content rights to Twitter. That is not a bad idea - sharing revenue ala Google Adsense - if it is the authors choice.
Besides the revenue option, the Tweet owner should have a say in what ads are presented with their content. The rationale is easy - an ad that resides with "my" content could be construed to be an endorsement by me. For instance, we don't drink soda, so why would we allow a Coca-Cola ad on our content? And what about political ads? Liquor ads? What if we are employed for Ford, and a Honda ad is presented on our tweet?
Another idea is to present the author with the option of opting out of specific ad categories.
The SuperTweet would be primarily on the twitter.com web site (which is seeing a dramatic drop off of users - so other platforms would have to access the advertising API - and presumable also share in the revenue. Thus once again - the 3rd party Twitter product companies are further enriched at Twitter's expense.
Our conclusion: We believe the idea of SuperTweets could be very powerful and finally give a monetization model for Twitter - yet it would only gain acceptance with revenue sharing and/or opt-out options for the content owner.
Post Note: In an article that included an interview with the founder of Twitter, Biz Stone and Linkedin's Reid Hoffman, Biz dispells the notion of advertsing on Twitter. In this article, 3News "Twitter to Follow Google's lead", it was reported:
"But following a new round of funding, Stone seems in no rush to go down the advertising route which has been so successful for the search company Google."
So - is "Supertweet" or any other kind of advertising on Twitter really coming - or is there a major disconnect between Biz and his COO, Costolo?