Friday, September 11, 2009

Twitter invites its own disaster with 9/10 announcement

Wildly popular microblogging site could be headed for disaster after yesterday's announcement that it would begin to allow advertising on its pages, which attract more than 45 million visitors monthly. The two-year old service, which allows legions of users to post messages of up to 140 characters, does not charge for access and has been looking for ways to turn its burgeoning popularity into profitability. "We leave the door open for advertising," founder Biz Stone said Thursday on the San Francisco-based company's official blog, according to the Reuters international news service. "We'd like to keep our options open, as we've said before." Until now, Twitter has been funded with venture capital, Reuters said. To accomplish the change, Twitter revised its terms of service to include the phrases "The services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the content or information on the services, queries made through the services, or other information. The types and extent of advertising by Twitter on the services are subject to change." Users also are now required to concur that "in consideration for Twitter granting you access to and use of the services, you agree that Twitter and its third-party providers and partners may place such advertising on the services." Industry analysts were skeptical of the change, contending that advertising rarely succeeds on social networking sites and that advertisers would be reluctant to link their products with the unpredictable and often offensive chatter on the site, Reuters said. But advertising is the primary financial engine that drives free Web service, Reuters said.

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