Report: Twitter Mulls Putting Ads in Your Timeline

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The commercialization of Twitter is going to mean advert tweets appearing in users’ timelines, according to the Financial Times.

Given the hoo-ha when the company added the “QuickBar” to timelines viewed via its iOS app, see if you can imagine how much of a stink putting ads in the timeline would cause. One helluva one.

(MORE: Twitter Nixes the QuickBar)

The FT report says:

“According to three people familiar with the situation, Twitter’s plans under consideration would see ‘promoted tweets’ appear in their main timeline, the main focus of the Twitter website. Twitter had tested such ads with a third-party mobile client, HootSuite. Users could also see tweets from a brand they follow appear high up in their stream even though they were posted hours previously.”

But hey, before you get all upset, put yourself in Twitter’s shoes for a moment. You’ve got 300 million (plus) users, significant costs to cover for the hardware and the code and the maintenance. You’ve hired a revenue team, and their job is to get the money rolling in.

Traditionally, money rolls in if you allow advertisers access to the thing most people are looking at. That’s how TV works.

But could it work on something like Twitter? The advertisers will be drooling at the thought of all those lovely, juicy eyeballs.

They should be careful, though. Eyeballs ain’t what they used to be, and social networks are two a penny. If ads appear in the timeline, and some unheard of startup pops out of nowhere promising it will be “like Twitter but without the ads”, who’d want to bet that there wouldn’t be a massive exodus?

It’s happened before. MySpace used to matter. Altavista used to be many people’s starting point for web searches. Just saying.

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