Could campaigns buy Twitter followers?

By Allen Fuller
The rumor mill is churning today with the story that Twitter may begin offering a “promoted twitter” premium service, whereby accounts could be promoted for an advertising type fee. If the metrics were right, this would be a tremendous boost to building audiences for campaigns. Imagine if every time someone on Twitter posted about a […]

The rumor mill is churning today with the story that Twitter may begin offering a “promoted twitter” premium service, whereby accounts could be promoted for an advertising type fee. If the metrics were right, this would be a tremendous boost to building audiences for campaigns. Imagine if every time someone on Twitter posted about a topic or person related to your campaign or cause, a box recommending your Twitter account would appear to that user? This sort of contextual advertising would be a benefit using Twitter effectively as a means of building direct communications with key audiences.

One hurdle to implementing such a plan would clearly be integrating these promoted accounts with the API. Since a full 75% of Twitter traffic comes through third-party apps — not the Twitter.com website itself — a truly effective implementation of promoted accounts would need to place those promotions in the API so apps could use them.

Of course, how users would react would be a challenge. While some might appreciate the opportunity to learn about new accounts related to their interests, others would clearly object to the invasion of privacy that Google went through when it rolled out contextual advertising for Gmail.

What do you think? Would you pay to promote your candidate or cause on Twitter?

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