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Twitter moves to ban ads from other companies

May 24, 2010 |  4:26 pm

One month after unveiling its own advertising system, Twitter has banned other companies from inserting ads into users’ streams of short messages.

It’s just the latest in a series of moves that Twitter made to gain greater control over the popular site. The move also illustrates the perils for companies that become too dependent on any one platform such as Twitter, which over time may decide to encroach on or poach their businesses.

Costolo Twitter recently released its own mobile applications in competition with many independent companies. It’s also said it will explore developing its own applications for sharing pictures and videos. Some developers have expressed an uneasiness about Twitter's moves.

In a blog post, Twitter Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo reasoned that advertising from other companies could confuse users and put too great a burden on Twitter.

“Twitter bears all the costs of maintaining the network, protecting the Tweet stream against spam, supporting user requests and scaling the service,” he wrote. “Indeed, Twitter will bear many of the support costs associated with any third-party paid Tweets, as Twitter receives support e-mails related to anything a user sees in a tweet stream. The third-party bears few of these costs by comparison.”

In an interview with The Times at the company’s Chirp conference in San Francisco, Costolo said Twitter had no immediate plans to ban other companies from inserting ads in Twitter streams but did not rule out the possibility. He said the priority for Twitter was to protect the relevance and integrity of the site.

Twitter has its own advertising system called Promoted Tweets. It shares about half of the revenue with developers.

Beverly Hills-based Ad.ly, which brokers ads and places them in users’ Twitter streams, denied it would be affected by the change. 

In a statement, Ad.ly’s Chief Executive Arnie Gullov-Singh said: “Ad.ly supports Twitter's movement today to create standards around in-stream advertising. Twitter's changes are aimed at discouraging members of the ecosystem who do not maintain the proper balance of user experience and monetization and who are not invested in building long-term value on the platform. Since inception, Ad.ly has, and still is operating under Twitter's approved guidelines and terms of service for advertising on its platform. We look forward to continuing to create long term value for our advertisers and publishers, both of whom are key constituents in the stream ecosystem."

Gullov-Singh just joined Ad.ly, which announced it had raised $5 million at the same time.

For more information on Twitter's rules of the road for developers, click here.

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Twitter's Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo. Credit: jolieodell

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