Silly Third Parties, Only Twitter Can Profit From Twitter

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Twitter developers beware. TweetUp, which has been hailed as the “Adsense for Twitter,” was announced today at TechCrunch‘s Disrupt event. TweetUp is an ad platform that would give its advertisers access to analytics, an algorithm designed to rank keyword searches in a promotions-friendly manner, and, most tantalizing, a 50/50 revenue split. Basically, individuals and businesses could pay to promote their tweets to the top of any search with a relevant keyword in it, chronological order be damned.

But on the same day as the TweetUp announcement came today’s post on the Twitter blog, wherein Dick Costolo, Twitter COO, plays the part of the valiant knight defending Twitter’s integrity against those pesky third parties. In said post, he writes, “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.”

This all comes shortly after the announcement of Promoted Tweets – tweets paid for by advertisers including Best Buy, Red Bull, and Starbucks that show up at the top of searches. Everyone wants to make money off Twitter. Even Twitter! But now, apparently, only Twitter actually can.

But why, Mr. Costolo? What about the developers? What about the little guy?

Costolo’s justification:

“Third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.”

The point seems fair enough, but when we look at Costolo’s overarching message, something smells fishy: “We believe it is our responsibility to encourage creative product development and to curb practices that compromise innovation.”

Put some faith in developers to have Twitter’s best interests at heart. TweetUp certainly doesn’t seem like a major threat to the Twittersphere. It actually seems pretty cool, not that I’d pay to have my inane musings launched up the charts. Let the free market be free, Mr. Costolo.

(Via Gizmodo; title image by Giz editor Jesus Diaz.)

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