September 23, 2009
You might be aware that Twitter recently updated its terms and conditions, so we thought it was worth highlighting what these changes might mean for brands that use the micro-blogging site.
Although no specific announcement has been made regarding advertising, the new terms make it clear that Twitter is seriously considering using adverts to generate revenue. Clearly, this will have an effect on organisations which use Twitter as a PR and marketing channel – the main implication being that they could end up with adverts on their pages that they have absolutely no control over.
We suspect what will happen is that Twitter will roll out advertising at the same time as paid-for ad-free accounts to kill two birds with one stone, since no business would want to allow third party adverts on its page, least of all if it had no say over what those adverts will be.
Twitter makes it clear that publishers still own the copyright of their tweets, but by publishing them on Twitter they allow the company rights to distribute that content through its websites and API. There’s very little to worry about here, Twitter isn’t about to start doing nasty things with people’s content, since that would immediately scare away all of the business users which are most likely to contribute to its future revenues.
One potential issue in this area is that the content is published to the API which third party developers can then use for any number of things. At the moment there’s nothing bad happening in that space, but it’s worth keeping an open mind about what unscrupulous people might use the content for in future – although it’s safe to assume that Twitter will quickly block access to anybody who’s using the API for illegal/spammy behaviour.
UPDATE: Netimperative reports that Twitter has ruled out introducing advertising this year.