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Twitter will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline

May 27, 2010 

Twitter quietly took one step closer to profitability this week when it said it would ban third-party paid tweets in order to better monitor its proprietary advertising service.

In April, the micro-blogger unveiled the first phase of its Promoted Tweets service to disseminate information from businesses and organizations to wider user groups.

Photo courtesy of TwitterIn a blog post Monday, the company said it would now move to block third-party ad tweets that undermine its Promoted Tweets from its timeline.

Twitter Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo has said the new ad system will become a key pillar in the company’s plans to turn its popular 140-character social networking service into a money-making operation.

The company has been valued at over $1 billion and has more than 100 million users worldwide.

The San-Francisco based company expects hundreds of advertisers to sign on to Promoted Tweets by the fourth quarter of this year. So far, participants include Starbucks, Bravo, Virgin America and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Ad tweets should exist primarily in search functions and in timelines where metrics show they relate to users, it said.

Twitter said it will forgo revenue on Promoted Tweets for the time being while it monitors the service’s impact.

“For this reason, aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API.”

The company said third-party ad tweets aren’t necessarily looking to preserve the Twitter experience and at times seek to maximize ad click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.

“They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform.”

Attendees at last month’s Chirp Developer Conference said they needed more clarity about what content lines, if any, are drawn, Twitter said.

“We believe it is our responsibility to encourage creative product development and to curb practices that compromise innovation,” it said.

Twitter also plans to launch a commercial accounts business sometime this summer.

Author:  Stefania Moretti

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