An Investors View on Twitter’s Announcements – I’m not Abandoning the Ecosystem

Posted on May 25, 2010 | 48 comments


I have read much commentary on my Twitter stream (ironically) and in the press about how investors are going to abandon investments in the Twitter ecosystem because they seem to appear hostile to ecosystem partners.  Let me be the first to say that I don’t agree with this notion.

Let me explain.

1. Regarding protecting the quality of the stream from an influx of low quality advertising, I emphatically agree with (what I perceive to be**) Twitter’s positioning. I could not do justice to Ad.ly’s own response, which is wonderfully put forth in this article by our CEO, Arnie Gullov-Singh.  If you want to understand what the company believes about Twitter’s positioning please read the linked article.

Despite the criticisms they’ve received, Twitter’s desire to maintain the quality and integrity of the Twitter stream is worthy and will benefit both the platform and all of us as individuals who have poured our time and energy into communication through Twitter

2. The position that Twitter should be compensated by third-party applications that monetize through Twitter is both correct and is actually great news for the long-term viability of the ecosystem. For any platform to succeed it needs to achieve revenue momentum.  Why should any of us expect a free ride?  Our success as businesses that hope to build a strong ecosystem and prosper as 3rd-party apps depends on Twitter’s success.  Just ask Zynga where they’d be today if Facebook wasn’t building a hugely profitable platform.

3. Furthermore, when Twitter publishers make money from their work in supporting the Twitter platform this is good news for all involved. Let’s face it, if people want to blog as a career they have to be able to make money.  If people want to cultivate a following on Twitter they, too, need to be able to be compensated for their efforts.  This is good for Twitter as well.  They don’t want to ever wake up and hear their users saying their moving on another platform where they can make more money as Lady Gaga’s manager does here about MySpace.  By embracing high-quality in-stream ads Twitter will help foster its own ecosystem of publishers and advertisers.

So I believe that Twitter needs to come up with a plan to maintain the quality of any in-stream advertising.  While Ad.ly and others were formed on the basis of taking the high ground we know that over time other companies will not.  We share the goal of helping Twitter to maintain a quality platform.

Some other thoughts from me for Twitter

  • Denoting third-party ads as a separate color on Twitter.com would add to transparency for consumers.  This would make advertising even more visually transparent.
  • Offer a premium “advertising free” offering to consumers who prefer an ad-free stream.  If they charged just $2 / month and if they converted just 5% of their user base this would add more than $40 million in profits to Twitter’s bottom line.  This would benefit everybody and offer consumer choice.  And it supports my goal of making Twitter a healthy economic ecosystem and one that can rival Facebook’s as an engagement platform for audiences and brands
  • Establish clear guidelines on advertising quality scores.  There are many ways to implement this but one idea is to judge based on a combination of unfollows, Retweets, CTRs or third-party evaluations based on subjective spot tests.  This would be no different that Google’s having quality scoring
  • Establish a clear policy of revenue sharing.  This can evolve over time but laying the foundation with clear pricing statements would help third-party developers plan better.  For ad-networks this can be a simple revenue share as is customary in more traditional online media.  For other developers there might be consumption-based pricing.  Having a clear rate card (as Apple, Salesforce.com and others have) would help alleviate concerns.  Saying “you’ll figure it out” isn’t good enough for the commercial stage of Twitter’s business.  If I were them I’d hire some ex Salesforce or Intuit folks who could help with this.  They’re masters at the games of pricing, segmenting offerings and marketing to customers.

As a user I remain bullish on Twitter as a platform.  Having seen the economics of a Twitter application firsthand, I am even more bullish as an investor.

___________________________

** Note: When Twitter acquired Tweetie and launched a BB application I stated that I thought both moves were fair and were correct but that they could have done a better job at PR in selling these to the ecosystem.  The same is true for this latest announcement.  I actually think that Twitter is doing a great job of navigating the tough waters of moving from a free ecosystem to a commercial one.  I just think they should hire an experienced Chief Marketing Officer (I don’t think they have one?) who would get out in front of the news cycle on stories and make sure all communications [and pricing plans] were thought through before announcements.

  • http://twitter.com/hbookmark hbookmark

    Can't agree more!
    A serious company who would have been built on top of twitter's platform would surely have anticipated such a move from them, it was just the obvious thing to do. So all this complaining is much ado about nothing IMHO…

  • http://twitter.com/hbookmark hbookmark

    Can't agree more!
    A serious company who would have been built on top of twitter's platform would surely have anticipated such a move from them, it was just the obvious thing to do. So all this complaining is much ado about nothing IMHO…

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Agreed. Still, as ecosystem partners, when you're tipped off about potential announcements in advance it helps you to better prepare rather than going through your own communication fire drills. With no warning Twitter dropped a PR bomb on everybody (for the second time). So to me it's just a question of improving their marketing and private ecosystem communications. Marketing 101, really.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Still, as ecosystem partners, when you're tipped off about potential announcements in advance it helps you to better prepare rather than going through your own communication fire drills. With no warning Twitter dropped a PR bomb on everybody (for the second time). So to me it's just a question of improving their marketing and private ecosystem communications. Marketing 101, really.

  • http://twitter.com/hbookmark hbookmark

    Sure, it's marketing 101. But it can be tricky, because it's understandable they don't necessarily want to share their plans too much in advance with everyone. Leaving people in the dark on their business plan gives them the ability to change plans quickly / adapt / or even steal ideas from the ecosystem (I'm being sarcastic but not far from truth I think), while getting some buzz at the same time.
    Remember Twitter's business plan (or lack thereof) is (in part) what made them so newsworthy for more than a year (oddly enough, I agree). So they might not have been so bad at marketing tricks, it's just that they are now at the inflection point and what used to work doesn't anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/hbookmark hbookmark

    Sure, it's marketing 101. But it can be tricky, because it's understandable they don't necessarily want to share their plans too much in advance with everyone. Leaving people in the dark on their business plan gives them the ability to change plans quickly / adapt / or even steal ideas from the ecosystem (I'm being sarcastic but not far from truth I think), while getting some buzz at the same time.
    Remember Twitter's business plan (or lack thereof) is (in part) what made them so newsworthy for more than a year (oddly enough, I agree). So they might not have been so bad at marketing tricks, it's just that they are now at the inflection point and what used to work doesn't anymore.

  • http://brmore.posterous.com/ brmore

    The contrary view that Twitter should remain a free and open playground for anyone is ludicrous. 1) “They” ain't paying for it and 2) “It” would soon devolve into a swirling, slimy mess w/out some sort of “order”.

    Something w/ a bunch of content (i.e. meta-blog of some sort) can carry some slime from bad advertising because there's something else to read on the page. Twitter isn't that; they can't allow their “main” content to become contaminated.

    Or so it seems to me?

  • http://brmore.posterous.com/ brmore

    The contrary view that Twitter should remain a free and open playground for anyone is ludicrous. 1) “They” ain't paying for it and 2) “It” would soon devolve into a swirling, slimy mess w/out some sort of “order”.

    Something w/ a bunch of content (i.e. meta-blog of some sort) can carry some slime from bad advertising because there's something else to read on the page. Twitter isn't that; they can't allow their “main” content to become contaminated.

    Or so it seems to me?

  • http://twitter.com/BrendanMiranda Brendan Miranda

    There are some great points in this article. I think there is just a point to determine if the ecosystem is worth it. It is not worth it to save an ecosystem full of old tires and diapers. Twitter is one of those rare few sites that have built a priceless ecosystem.

    BTW I would be willing to pay $2 a month to be ad fee.

  • http://twitter.com/BrendanMiranda Brendan Miranda

    There are some great points in this article. I think there is just a point to determine if the ecosystem is worth it. It is not worth it to save a ecosystem full of old tires and diapers. Twitter is one of those few sites that have built a priceless ecosystem.

    BTW I would be willing to pay $2 a month to be ad fee.

  • http://rafer.tumblr.com rafer

    DickC seems to be informally serving in the CMO role but is overworked on other matters.

  • http://rafer.tumblr.com rafer

    DickC seems to be informally serving in the CMO role but is overworked on other matters.

  • http://twitter.com/cjwake Chris Wake

    This is a great post with some very cogent points. I wholeheartedly agree that the move by Twitter and its management was necessary for the greater good and sustainability of the ecosystem. To assume that the platform could last forever without clear paths to monetization is foolish at best.

    You raised here some very interesting and highly plausible routes to monetize the platform as well.

    Specifically, I believe that a premium ad-free service is a wonderful idea – there are many possibilities even beyond ad-free to expand and bring in new features that I believe a paying crowd would get excited about.

    Having a “premium” service could also help further legitimize Twitter in the enterprise space, allowing it to expand its reach into the b2b and b2c realm as a platform provider. All businesses struggle in some way with customer service and write large checks to achieve even marginal improvement – Twitter has shown success here already, but there is still significant opportunity for more. I believe that the increased integration with LinkedIn will be a huge boon here, bringing new users, follows/ followers and presence to the enterprise space. This move, if executed right and nurtured, could make Twitter the de facto source for real-time sharing of pertinent professional news – something I cannot see Facebook with its status updates achieving at any point in the foreseeable future, and something necessary to compete in the enterprise space against the likes of Yammer, Chatter from Salesforce.com and others.

    Your point on quality scoring for advertising highlights a great opportunity as well (potentially the largest opportunity), whether for Twitter to drive on its own, or for a savvy developer to lead the charge on. This data will be extremely valuable, and even more so if geo-tagging can be incorporated to provide a more holistic picture of the reach and/or success of an advertisement.

    Finally, I like your idea of a more formalized rate card for revenue sharing. I believe that Apple has a wonderfully transparent (though hegemonic) approach to this, and Twitter could certainly take some of the key elements incorporated elsewhere to develop their own in-house. It will be even more important to make this clear and concise given today's announcement that Twitter will not (in the foreseeable future) build its own app store. I can see the logic on this decision, but it does not negate the need for a “formal bond” between Twitter and its developers.

  • http://twitter.com/cjwake Chris Wake

    This is a great post with some very cogent points. I wholeheartedly agree that the move by Twitter and its management was necessary for the greater good and sustainability of the ecosystem. To assume that the platform could last forever without clear paths to monetization is foolish at best.

    You raised here some very interesting and highly plausible routes to monetize the platform as well.

    Specifically, I believe that a premium ad-free service is a wonderful idea – there are many possibilities even beyond ad-free to expand and bring in new features that I believe a paying crowd would get excited about.

    Having a “premium” service could also help further legitimize Twitter in the enterprise space, allowing it to expand its reach into the b2b and b2c realm as a platform provider. All businesses struggle in some way with customer service and write large checks to achieve even marginal improvement – Twitter has shown success here already, but there is still significant opportunity for more. I believe that the increased integration with LinkedIn will be a huge boon here, bringing new users, follows/ followers and presence to the enterprise space. This move, if executed right and nurtured, could make Twitter the de facto source for real-time sharing of pertinent professional news – something I cannot see Facebook with its status updates achieving at any point in the foreseeable future, and something necessary to compete in the enterprise space against the likes of Yammer, Chatter from Salesforce.com and others.

    Your point on quality scoring for advertising highlights a great opportunity as well (potentially the largest opportunity), whether for Twitter to drive on its own, or for a savvy developer to lead the charge on. This data will be extremely valuable, and even more so if geo-tagging can be incorporated to provide a more holistic picture of the reach and/or success of an advertisement.

    Finally, I like your idea of a more formalized rate card for revenue sharing. I believe that Apple has a wonderfully transparent (though hegemonic) approach to this, and Twitter could certainly take some of the key elements incorporated elsewhere to develop their own in-house. It will be even more important to make this clear and concise given today's announcement that Twitter will not (in the foreseeable future) build its own app store. I can see the logic on this decision, but it does not negate the need for a “formal bond” between Twitter and its developers.

  • http://twitter.com/eranshir eran shir

    Don't buy Twitter's argument they want to keep the ecosystem's quality.

    The minute twitter was established as a centralized, company controlled service, it was obvious we will reach this point where they want to leverage their central position to maximize revenues, even on the expense of their ecosystem. I totally don't buy the 'keeping it clean and ordered' argument. Twitter already has a very strong self regulation mechanism – the “unfollow” function. One can probably prove mathematically that that will be sufficient to maintain high quality. Think of how great ads on the web would be, if you had the option, as a user, to remove the bad ones from websites as you browse the web, while maintaining the good ones. In addition, most twitter accounts are connected to personal brands, and as such, we have a mich higher incentive to maintain the quality of any ads that we 'publish'.

    And as for the 'revenues' to keep the lights on arguments, if twitter was a federated, email like protocol, the cost would've been distributed among millions of users and organizations, rather than fall on their shoulders. When was the last time one paid for the email 'company'?

  • http://twitter.com/eranshir eran shir

    Don't buy Twitter's argument they want to keep the ecosystem's quality.

    The minute twitter was established as a centralized, company controlled service, it was obvious we will reach this point where they want to leverage their central position to maximize revenues, even on the expense of their ecosystem. I totally don't buy the 'keeping it clean and ordered' argument. Twitter already has a very strong self regulation mechanism – the “unfollow” function. One can probably prove mathematically that that will be sufficient to maintain high quality. Think of how great ads on the web would be, if you had the option, as a user, to remove the bad ones from websites as you browse the web, while maintaining the good ones. In addition, most twitter accounts are connected to personal brands, and as such, we have a mich higher incentive to maintain the quality of any ads that we 'publish'.

    And as for the 'revenues' to keep the lights on arguments, if twitter was a federated, email like protocol, the cost would've been distributed among millions of users and organizations, rather than fall on their shoulders. When was the last time one paid for the email 'company'?

  • http://www.urbanophile.com/ Aaron M. Renn

    Mark, I think the key is less the terms than the uncertainty Twitter has introduced into their ecosystem. Would you build an application for Twitter with the sword of Damocles hanging over your head that they will either a) decide to annex your offering into the core platform or b) simple ban you? Clearly this is a risk with any ecosystem you want to buy into, but Twitter seems to have gone out of their way to show contempt for the people who are building tools for their system. Given that, is this where a startup founder literally wants to bet his future? I know I wouldn't.

  • http://www.urbanophile.com/ Aaron M. Renn

    Mark, I think the key is less the terms than the uncertainty Twitter has introduced into their ecosystem. Would you build an application for Twitter with the sword of Damocles hanging over your head that they will either a) decide to annex your offering into the core platform or b) simple ban you? Clearly this is a risk with any ecosystem you want to buy into, but Twitter seems to have gone out of their way to show contempt for the people who are building tools for their system. Given that, is this where a startup founder literally wants to bet his future? I know I wouldn't.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That was then, this is now. What worked in the the first 2 years doesn't apply when people bet money and their careers on the ecosystem development. The rules that now apply:

    - nod to key partners 48 hours before announcement and enforce confidentiality or be vague on what's coming but at least a “heads up”
    - clearly defined pricing / market offerings. You can change these over time but not announcement is not acceptable. You can also publish “rate card” or “list prices” and then do side deals. But no pricing = no ecosystem stability = no market.
    - better articulated reasons for changes in policies and how those changes will affect people. Better articulation of M&A transactions that don't scare off others in the ecosystem.
    - better roll out of marketing announcements. Not casually dropped at conferences but a more formal PR announcement run by a professional marketing staff.

    We're in the big leagues now.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    That was then, this is now. What worked in the the first 2 years doesn't apply when people bet money and their careers on the ecosystem development. The rules that now apply:

    - nod to key partners 48 hours before announcement and enforce confidentiality or be vague on what's coming but at least a “heads up”
    - clearly defined pricing / market offerings. You can change these over time but not announcement is not acceptable. You can also publish “rate card” or “list prices” and then do side deals. But no pricing = no ecosystem stability = no market.
    - better articulated reasons for changes in policies and how those changes will affect people. Better articulation of M&A transactions that don't scare off others in the ecosystem.
    - better roll out of marketing announcements. Not casually dropped at conferences but a more formal PR announcement run by a professional marketing staff.

    We're in the big leagues now.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    No, Eran, The guys who run and are on the board of this company are too smart. No ecosystem = no long-term successful company. Everybody who knows history knows that and these guys know history. I agree that unfollow is a powerful quality tool. But just like with government, sometimes market-only tools don't work and somebody needs to step in and set some guidelines.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    No, Eran, The guys who run and are on the board of this company are too smart. No ecosystem = no long-term successful company. Everybody who knows history knows that and these guys know history. I agree that unfollow is a powerful quality tool. But just like with government, sometimes market-only tools don't work and somebody needs to step in and set some guidelines.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    It's not just about today's ecosystem, it is about encouraging one for the future. No ecosystem = no long-term stability. The ecosystem “makes you” in the long run.

    And I think many users would pay for ad free. That's the beauty of having both models.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    It's not just about today's ecosystem, it is about encouraging one for the future. No ecosystem = no long-term stability. The ecosystem “makes you” in the long run.

    And I think many users would pay for ad free. That's the beauty of having both models.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Yeah, I was sort of arguing for an independent and full-time CMO reporting to Dick and helping him through these issues. At Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff really is the marketing genius. But he still has an entire team that researches: pricing, competition, manages the ecosystem, talks to analysts, works PR with journalists, runs conferences and handles timing of key announcements.

    Basically, Twitter is in the big leagues now. It's time to suit up.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Yeah, I was sort of arguing for an independent and full-time CMO reporting to Dick and helping him through these issues. At Salesforce.com, Marc Benioff really is the marketing genius. But he still has an entire team that researches: pricing, competition, manages the ecosystem, talks to analysts, works PR with journalists, runs conferences and handles timing of key announcements.

    Basically, Twitter is in the big leagues now. It's time to suit up.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    great points all. re: “formal bond” between Twitter and developers – agreed. An announced “rate card” does not negate side deals for larger or more strategic partners. And the continual dialog with the community helps to normalize the pricing around something that works.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    great points all. re: “formal bond” between Twitter and developers – agreed. An announced “rate card” does not negate side deals for larger or more strategic partners. And the continual dialog with the community helps to normalize the pricing around something that works.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think the uncertainty is more an issue of better communications. I believe their intent is correct, but more people just need to know what their intent is. I don't believe they show contempt – more naivete on what the ecosystem needs to hear to be confident.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think the uncertainty is more an issue of better communications. I believe their intent is correct, but more people just need to know what their intent is. I don't believe they show contempt – more naivete on what the ecosystem needs to hear to be confident.

  • jameseliason

    Mark,

    I agree 100% with your concepts and ideas regarding how Twitter could potential allow for a clear path for models such as ad.ly and ourselves. What is interesting to me is the lack of clarity and reasoning when it comes to this particular business model. To me, the easy solution would be for Twitter to partner with in-stream advertisers (after all they don't want to be the communicators with the ad agencies?), provide a simplistic rate card (as you say) and allow access for those partners to a specific api that formats the Tweets differently from all the rest.

    Once you do that, you allow your ecosystem partners (like Tweetdeck and others) the opportunity to offer non-ad models as well (promoted or sponsored tweets). Pretty sure that those partners would welcome that addition to their models. In turn, you allow the providers of content to help promote something they want to in order to make some $ from being on the network. It worked at Blogger with the addition of Google Adsense boxes..why can't it work on Twitter?

    The bottom line is that 50,000,000 tweets are sent each day. And as Twitter evolves and continues to integrate with other platforms, like Linkedin recently, the overall “reach of a tweet” (as I call it) is tremendous. It is an opportunity that they know is powerful..but I am not quite sure they are there yet.

    Great post

  • jameseliason

    Mark,

    I agree 100% with your concepts and ideas regarding how Twitter could potential allow for a clear path for models such as ad.ly and ourselves. What is interesting to me is the lack of clarity and reasoning when it comes to this particular business model. To me, the easy solution would be for Twitter to partner with in-stream advertisers (after all they don't want to be the communicators with the ad agencies?), provide a simplistic rate card (as you say) and allow access for those partners to a specific api that formats the Tweets differently from all the rest.

    Once you do that, you allow your ecosystem partners (like Tweetdeck and others) the opportunity to offer non-ad models as well (promoted or sponsored tweets). Pretty sure that those partners would welcome that addition to their models. In turn, you allow the providers of content to help promote something they want to in order to make some $ from being on the network. It worked at Blogger with the addition of Google Adsense boxes..why can't it work on Twitter?

    The bottom line is that 50,000,000 tweets are sent each day. And as Twitter evolves and continues to integrate with other platforms, like Linkedin recently, the overall “reach of a tweet” (as I call it) is tremendous. It is an opportunity that they know is powerful..but I am not quite sure they are there yet.

    Great post

  • skaye

    My feeling is that Twitter is a private company, funded by some big players who are known for getting good returns for their LPs – you would have been naive to think that Twitter wasn't going to investigate every avenue of monetisation for themselves, including competing with their “partners” in the ecosystem.

    Which brings me to my next point, entrepreneurs who have gone down this path and gotten caught out should be doing everything imaginable to pivot and get themselves out of this mess. Diversification is a key strategy that all business leaders need to look at – if you are a one trick pony, what happens if your pony breaks down? I would look at Tweetdeck as an example of a small company that is changing their dance moves based on whatever music the DJ is playing at the time.

    On a grander scale, I have some concerns about Twitter's communication abilities which is ironic considering what they do. The last few things they've done have been utterly ham-fisted. If I were on the board and watched a guy like Dick Costolo so badly butcher a simple Ts & Cs change, I'd be worried. He was brought in, probably with a big salary and lots of options, to add some additional business acumen and firepower. He's not got a handle on messaging that's for certain. There was the acquisition of Tweetie just before Chirp and now this – if Costolo isn't smart enough to hire an top notch communications person, you have to be asking yourself why you've brought him in.

  • skaye

    My feeling is that Twitter is a private company, funded by some big players who are known for getting good returns for their LPs – you would have been naive to think that Twitter wasn't going to investigate every avenue of monetisation for themselves, including competing with their “partners” in the ecosystem.

    Which brings me to my next point, entrepreneurs who have gone down this path and gotten caught out should be doing everything imaginable to pivot and get themselves out of this mess. Diversification is a key strategy that all business leaders need to look at – if you are a one trick pony, what happens if your pony breaks down? I would look at Tweetdeck as an example of a small company that is changing their dance moves based on whatever music the DJ is playing at the time.

    On a grander scale, I have some concerns about Twitter's communication abilities which is ironic considering what they do. The last few things they've done have been utterly ham-fisted. If I were on the board and watched a guy like Dick Costolo so badly butcher a simple Ts & Cs change, I'd be worried. He was brought in, probably with a big salary and lots of options, to add some additional business acumen and firepower. He's not got a handle on messaging that's for certain. There was the acquisition of Tweetie just before Chirp and now this – if Costolo isn't smart enough to hire an top notch communications person, you have to be asking yourself why you've brought him in.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    There is always a delicate balance in any ecosystem between the platform monetizing and the 3rd parties monetizing: see Facebook / Zynga. Dick C, Evan and investors are all smart and know this. They don't want to shut down partners. I believe it's simply a need to have full time marketing resources so that announcements are handled better.

    re: “pivoting” – I've always said people need to be multi-channel. Most smart startups get this.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    There is always a delicate balance in any ecosystem between the platform monetizing and the 3rd parties monetizing: see Facebook / Zynga. Dick C, Evan and investors are all smart and know this. They don't want to shut down partners. I believe it's simply a need to have full time marketing resources so that announcements are handled better.

    re: “pivoting” – I've always said people need to be multi-channel. Most smart startups get this.

  • skaye

    I agree with you 100% about the marketing resourcing, but as I said, if I were a board member the fact that I have all of these smart people running this company and they've not yet addressed such an obvious issue, that would concern me. They've dropped the ball twice on communicating their “intentions” towards the community, a third time would be folly.

    I'm also watching Ad.ly – Chris Dixon doesn't understand how these changes don't impact Ad.ly. I have to agree, it says “In-Stream Advertising” right in the <title> of the website.

  • skaye

    I agree with you 100% about the marketing resourcing, but as I said, if I were a board member the fact that I have all of these smart people running this company and they've not yet addressed such an obvious issue, that would concern me. They've dropped the ball twice on communicating their “intentions” towards the community, a third time would be folly.

    I'm also watching Ad.ly – Chris Dixon doesn't understand how these changes don't impact Ad.ly. I have to agree, it says “In-Stream Advertising” right in the <title> of the website.

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Mark…your comment on the need for a CMO is telling and incisive.

    Interesting that Twitter and Facebook, both social platforms (loosely defined) have built huge communities and populations and are notably anti-social and non transparent in their communications. This is a grating disconnect.

    Strong community=open communications and conversations not the other way around. And this is true in business as well.

    They are smart folks…why the resistance I wonder?

  • http://arnoldwaldstein.com awaldstein

    Mark…your comment on the need for a CMO is telling and incisive.

    Interesting that Twitter and Facebook, both social platforms (loosely defined) have built huge communities and populations and are notably anti-social and non transparent in their communications. This is a grating disconnect.

    Strong community=open communications and conversations not the other way around. And this is true in business as well.

    They are smart folks…why the resistance I wonder?

  • http://www.close.ly Perry Evans

    The murky area which complicates the situation is that many businesses are *partially connecting* into the Twitter Ecosystem (my start-up is one of those). So, it's not always as simple as picking one or the other, it's often where do you put more dev/business emphasis. I feel that the “wiggle room” of interpretation, while desirable to Twitter, is tipping developers away.

    I've been there before, in the early days of Jabber, balancing open and commercial apps layers for an underlying platform, and know an immature platform business is a delicate path to navigate. I do believe Twitter is sincere, but the case-by-case model of interpretation certainly causes pause in how much to play/bet on some truly exciting future Twitter functionality.

    Anytime developers stop grabbing new tools, or spend time worrying about the risk in ambiguity, momentum gets lost. While Twitter may be legitimate master of a constellation, it's not master of the universe!

    I'm still bullish, but more “cautiously bullish” than a week ago.

  • http://www.close.ly Perry Evans

    The murky area which complicates the situation is that many businesses are *partially connecting* into the Twitter Ecosystem (my start-up is one of those). So, it's not always as simple as picking one or the other, it's often where do you put more dev/business emphasis. I feel that the “wiggle room” of interpretation, while desirable to Twitter, is tipping developers away.

    I've been there before, in the early days of Jabber, balancing open and commercial apps layers for an underlying platform, and know an immature platform business is a delicate path to navigate. I do believe Twitter is sincere, but the case-by-case model of interpretation certainly causes pause in how much to play/bet on some truly exciting future Twitter functionality.

    Anytime developers stop grabbing new tools, or spend time worrying about the risk in ambiguity, momentum gets lost. While Twitter may be legitimate master of a constellation, it's not master of the universe!

    I'm still bullish, but more “cautiously bullish” than a week ago.

  • http://www.madmagz.com Youssef Rahoui

    “an immature platform business is a delicate path to navigate”: agreed. Remoras do not fear sharks because they know that sharks don't eat remoras. But as for the other fishes, well, it must have been different !

  • http://www.madmagz.com Youssef Rahoui

    “an immature platform business is a delicate path to navigate”: agreed. Remoras do not fear sharks because they know that sharks don't eat remoras. But as for the other fishes, well, it must have been different !

  • http://markgslater.wordpress.com/ markslater

    its strategic –

    - i dont want anyone sending me an add in a tweet stream – i should NOT have to pay to avoid that.

    the question i want people to keep asking is – given the choice do i want to receive some type of advertising message – the answer is a resounding NO – twitter is following its intuition on this and is saying – we are a new medium – a new way of sharing – why are we just going to allow an old and terminally ill form of marketing to seep in to this?

  • http://markgslater.wordpress.com/ markslater

    its strategic –

    - i dont want anyone sending me an add in a tweet stream – i should NOT have to pay to avoid that.

    the question i want people to keep asking is – given the choice do i want to receive some type of advertising message – the answer is a resounding NO – twitter is following its intuition on this and is saying – we are a new medium – a new way of sharing – why are we just going to allow an old and terminally ill form of marketing to seep in to this?

  • http://twitter.com/asmartbear Jason Cohen

    I don't think the uproar is that Twitter shouldn't be allowed to make money or regulate their platform, but rather that people are scared of (what they perceive to be) arbitrary decisions that could tank a company dependent on Twitter. Like Apple has done with the App Store.

    Maybe this was a PR problem — had they morphed the rules in stages or been more specific about their intentions, perhaps it would have been better. Or not… I agree people just bitch and moan whenever anything changes to be “less open/free.”

    Side note: I disagree that $5/mo to remove ads is a slam-dunk for Twitter because this removes exactly the quality eyeballs advertisers most want to get in front of. Perhaps on the balance it's good for Twitter's bottom line, perhaps not.

    Put another way: If Google offered that, don't you agree that would hurt AdWords sales? But then I would probably have to agree than on balance AdWords sales would still be good enough… interesting question.

  • http://twitter.com/asmartbear Jason Cohen

    I don't think the uproar is that Twitter shouldn't be allowed to make money or regulate their platform, but rather that people are scared of (what they perceive to be) arbitrary decisions that could tank a company dependent on Twitter. Like Apple has done with the App Store.

    Maybe this was a PR problem — had they morphed the rules in stages or been more specific about their intentions, perhaps it would have been better. Or not… I agree people just bitch and moan whenever anything changes to be “less open/free.”

    Side note: I disagree that $5/mo to remove ads is a slam-dunk for Twitter because this removes exactly the quality eyeballs advertisers most want to get in front of. Perhaps on the balance it's good for Twitter's bottom line, perhaps not.

    Put another way: If Google offered that, don't you agree that would hurt AdWords sales? But then I would probably have to agree than on balance AdWords sales would still be good enough… interesting question.