Dr. Strangetweet: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sponsor

Maybe advertising isn’t all bad. After all, we let television and radio and movie theaters and the ass of your pants have advertising. Why not a tweet stream?

I am experimenting with in-stream advertising on Twitter.

I am terrified of losing friends over it.

What is in-stream advertising?

In-stream advertising is allowing an advertiser to post a tweet using your Twitter username among your regular updates. An in-stream ad usually has a description of the product or service and a link. Such an ad also contains a disclaimer hashtag for transparency, such as #ad, #paid, or #spon (short for “sponsored”).

The idea is you would post multiple regular tweets (5, 10, 20, hundreds) per single ad. Theoretically this would strike a fine balance between regular content and paid content, so that no one calls you nasty names like “spammer” or “marketer” or “capitalist” or “content provider” or “deserve to get paid for all the work you put into creating interesting stuff online” or…

There are two common types of in-stream advertising:

Contract: The advertiser pays you a certain amount of money to post a few tweets via your stream over a given time frame. For example, an advertiser might tweet through your profile three times in a week – once at the beginning of the campaign, once in the middle, and once at the end of the week. They might even rent your Twitter background design on the Web for the same period, as in the case of Twittad (although Twittad 2.0, due out next week, is updating some of its distribution methods. Big things are brewing there.) When the period is complete, you are paid through PayPal.

PPC: Pay-per-click. You are only paid when someone clicks a link in the ad posted through your Twitter username. Dozens of ad networks use PPC as their distribution/revenue model. Magpie is a big one. MyLikes is another.

For normal human beings who lack superpowers such as flight, superstrength, or mainstream fame, payouts are usually a few bucks. Not bad. Not Benjamin-burnin’ money, not “I’m On a Boat”, but not bad.

Which advertising provider rules them all?

I am trying multiple Twitter in-stream advertising networks because I want to compare them. Which ones have the best revenue model? Which ones do advertisers like the most? Which ones do I as the user like the most? Which ones do my friends and followers like the most?

I am taking it very, very slow. I am working with a live audience here – my followers. There is no controlled survey panel here.

If I tweet out the wrong type of ad, or if a product or service I help to promote does not at least somewhat measure up to my standards, I will be rightly seen as untrustworthy, and my revenue model – *trust* – is gone.

That’s why I’m terrified. Well, no, not terrified. Not after writing this post. Just scared. No…not even scared.

Actually, the fear is gone. I have confidence in what I create and share online. I believe in the words I write, the films I shoot, the photos I snap and select, and the other things I share. I believe in the genuineness of the relationships I have cultivated, and I am not afraid to lose a few ideologues who frown on the idea of making money from the content I create.

Those same ideologues are probably too busy blithely sitting through and readily tolerating a television commercial for Goldman Sachs to care about little old me, the free-of-charge content production machine.

We should all get paid for our efforts. And besides, the advertisers I take on to support me? I guarantee I am not letting anything by me. If it’s not relevant, if it’s trash, I am not running it. All of my advertisers have to have something going for them – a product or service that I am not ashamed to show to my friends – before I approve them.

To be continued, when I feel like it. :)

For a good time, visit:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/willconley777/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/wconley/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/willconley777

And for my fellow social media omnivores, my entire Web footprint: http://willconley.extendr.com/

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