Twitter expert warns that advertising move could be disastrous

Twitter’s mooted move to introduce advertising into its service could be "disastrous" if it sends out adverts using users' Twitter streams, an expert in the social media platform has claimed.

Mark Shaw, Twitter expert and consultant, described Twitter as "a goldmine" in potential advertising revenue, sending out around 50 million tweets a day, and said that he believed it is inevitable that Twitter would look to make money from its service in the future as rumours circulate that it is to introduce a search-based advertising strategy.

According to a blog on The Wall Street Journal’s site, Twitter will introduce advertising before the summer with the ads presented like any other 140-character tweet - although they will apparently only appear in search results, rather than in users' tweet feeds.

Any other approach by Twitter other than advertising around its search system - similar to the model used by Google ads - would be a mistake, according to Shaw.

“Like everything, people will think ‘oh they’re advertising, I don’t want to know',” Shaw said.

“It depends on the age group of the audience. For example, younger people expect that if something is free, it means you get adverts. Older people think - I don’t know if I like that any more. It’s entirely down to how they position the adverts. If the advertising is coming through the Twitter stream, there will be a major revolt. If that’s what they do, that will be a major disaster. If they do it through the search page, that will work because you won’t have to click on anything but it’s there if you want to click.”

It is expected that the advertising will be sold by agencies in the first phase while Twitter looks to create a self-service website. It is also understood that Twitter intends to share advertising revenue with third-party sites which agree to display the ads.

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