I caught a tweet from Ted Murphy today, about how a celebrity was paid $2,500 to post a sponsored tweet.
Ted is the founder and CEO of IZEA, the company that owns SocialSpark and PayPerPost.
It’s a contentious topic that generally splits blogger opinion down the middle, with both sides offering valid reasons for their views for and against sponsored posts or paid blogging. Personally, I’m neither here nor there on the topic as long as it’s handled properly.
Now it seems as if Twitter is IZEA’s latest target, with pre-launch details of SponsoredTweets allowing Twitter users to sign up for the service in readiness for its launch in a few weeks.
The way it works is simple. You sign up, set your price and tag your profile, and then wait for advertisers to offer you their details for an agreed price. You then tweet their message and get paid. Everybody’s happy – the advertiser gets eyeballs and the Twitter user gets money.
But will everybody be happy? Probably not.
Advertisers are already using sponsored tweets to get their message across. One in particular, Magpie, seemed to unilaterally piss off the majority of the Twitter community with its invasive ads (although this may have had more to do with the fact they changed their policy and didn’t require publishers to disclose it was a sponsored tweet).
At least with IZEA’s approach, all publishers need to disclose their relationship to the advertiser and that the tweet in question is sponsored (much like the company’s blogger requirements).
Yet it looks like IZEA might suffer the same problem as Magpie – the fact that non-users of the service can’t opt out of seeing the ads in their Twitter stream. Sure, you can always unfollow someone if their sponsored tweets get too much – but is that really the best solution?
Perhaps this is where Twitter use will diverge and the service will be monetized. There’s been talk of premium Twitter accounts for a while – would that work?
You could still have a free account but expect to see unwanted ads in your stream. Or, have a premium account and filter the ads out – see your friend’s normal tweets but not ones with ads in them. Whether this would be feasible or not is another thing, but it’s an idea.
What’s your take? Is IZEA’s sponsored tweets service a welcome addition or more noise to the Twitter stream? Would you offer your Twitter account for advertising or keep your tweets from you and you alone?