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Adjix for Twitter crams short ads at the end of tweets

March 9, 2009 |  6:36 pm
An Adjix ad for pizza on a tweet
Adjix embed ad example in a text message tweet. Credit: Adjix

As if 140 characters wasn't enough of a limit for articulating your daily musings on Twitter, some people are now cramming text ads into their tweets.

In the race to monetize Twitter before Twitter Inc. does, a San Diego company called Adjix last week introduced its embedded ad service. It hasn't been well received by the Twitter faithful.

Here's how it works: Users sign on to the Adjix website and compose a tweet about whatever -- interesting new products, what they're having for lunch ... you know, the standard Twitter fare. Except this message has to be even shorter than usual so there's room for an ad at the end. Adjix lets the user choose a marketing message from a short list. It's tacked onto the tweet with an "Ad" label, a brief description and a link.

Generally, the more followers a Twitter user has, the more advertisers will pay to catch a ride on his or her tweets. Users collect 30% to 35% of the ad revenue, and Adjix takes the rest.

The start-up was launched in August as a competitor to TinyURL, a service that crunches down long Web addresses. The twist was that Adjix placed banner ads atop the page and gave users a cut of the money when someone clicked on those ads.

The new embed ad form hasn't immediately taken off. But Adjix founder Joe Moreno anticipates that the embeds will "eclipse" the banner ads. He also sees it as ...

... a way to prevent the much publicized dying of mainstream news outlets. "It seems like a way that a newspaper could sort of regain some revenues that maybe they've lost over the years," Moreno said. "It doesn't take away from their content."

It doesn't? Twitterers have long debated the merits of trying to insert ads into a medium that's usually only a couple of sentences every few hours.

Guy Kawasaki, an author and venture capitalist specializing in technology, is Adjix's most prominent user, with 80,467 followers, Moreno says. However, Kawasaki uses the service only as a URL shrinker. He refuses to place ads on his tweets.

Kawasaki's use of Adjix has, at times, drawn some criticism. "Some people are so clueless that they accuse me of having ads without ever clicking on my Adjix links to see that there are no ads," Kawasaki wrote in an e-mail.

Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone have been especially adamant about not introducing ads onto the service -- though, they haven't tried to stop third parties from doing so, as noted in a post on our blog.

Since that post in December, the third-party ad companies have each evolved their features in unique ways. Twittad, a service that serves static graphic ads in a profile background, launched a search feature that quickly matches Twitterers with advertisers. Magpie, which tweets an ad message in time intervals, has introduced a number of alternative pay plans for advertisers.

So, if you're bent on trying to profit from your blips about morning coffee, there are plenty of options out there.

-- Mark Milian

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