hijacked! twitter ads, stupidity vs intellect.

interesting thing landed in my twitterbox this morning. (why did that sound dirty?) @ischafer, of Deep Focus, pointed out this mashable article in which Twittad (...that also sounds dirty) debuted.

Twittad is an online account-auctioning service which functions as the go-between for users looking to monetize their twitter accounts and those willing to buy the impressions of those accounts' followers. skeezy? i'll let you decide. thing of it is, it may smack of familiarity. and it should. since Ian did it for a good cause last May.

but rather than have charity involved, this is just another experiment into how to monetize, cashify, etc the social media sphere (twitter in particular). does that make it worse? some people argued that when discussing adapting the SocialVibe platform to non-charity based advertising, and there may be something to it.


there are a few big differences between Twittad's approach and Ian's approach other than the charitable aspect. and this is the heart of the matter:

1. Ian is awesome.
ok. well, that's subjective, but the point is relevant. Ian has a following of cultlike proportions (again perhaps i exaggerate a little). he has things to say that people want to read. he is likable, relevant, and has 700+ followers (as of today; when he did this in May, it was less, but still in the multiple hundreds). he has an understanding of social media to ensure authentic, useful usage of the account during the duration of the sponsorship. and promised 8-10 outbound tweets/day.
...TWITTAD ERROR: it is hard for a sponsor to be sure that the user of the account being purchased is as insightful, conscientious, and influential.

2. his followers have a higher probability of awesome.
you know what you're getting when you buy his space. he has the ears and eyes of many professional elite from the marketing, advertising, and journalism realms, among others i'm sure. you know exactly what target your message is getting sent to and how apt they are to be viewing the advertisement of the sponsor.
...TWITTAD ERROR: if the purchased account's followers are not of a particular target, demographic, or, well, anything, you may risk shouting into the wind; you also are unsure of the level of interaction those followers have with the sponsored account.

3. you are assuming followers give a shit.
as a social media guru, people were interested in Ian's experiment. it was intriguing, charitable, and unique. as Dude A college junior needing $16 for laundry, i'm not sure i care about what you're advertising. moreover, the major downfall of Twittad is that it only gives a profile image (not the usericon). any user of twitter knows that you rarely visit a person's actual profile page. you're busy looking at your feed, often through other second hand apps, like Twhirl. if there are any real impressions to be had, it would be through the usericon.
...TWITTAD ERROR: fail, for the aforementioned reason. almost nobody goes to a person's profile page. unless it's a new follower you may want to follow back. or a funny profile you sometimes click to but don't actually follow, like @chucknorris or @FakeSarahPalin.


so in short, Ian did it first, did it better. then again, many of the selling twitter accounts are going for pretty cheap. is this more of a get-what-you-pay-for mentality? banner ads 2.0 anybody?


Make the logo bigger said...

Not sure No. 2 is always accurate. That’s not a slight in any way at Ian btw; I’m referring to the big picture where the A-list in general is followed by anyone who just wants to link to someone important.

In that case, the ‘perceived’ benefit of the follower may be that they'll tell their limited number of friends, and so on. It’s a long tail approach that works, don’t get me wrong. I just think the level of importance of the follower is not always equal to that of the followee.


the girl Riot™ said...


completely agree :) that's why i said "higher probability" of awesome. it would be silly to assume that every follower of Barack Obama would be equally as useful, relevant, or influential, for example. as the numbers expand, it's all probability, to be sure.