I’m not talk­ing to you, dear Mr. Cre­ative Direc­tor. You make a good liv­ing and you do not hold any grudge against ads as such. But I’m address­ing the com­mon net surfer, the guy, who bravely updates his adblocker every other month and still gets bom­barded with ever-mutating pop-ups, pop-unders and other intru­sive inhab­i­tants of var­i­ous ad servers. But even he has learned that the “cul­ture of free” requires some­body to pay the bill — not in cash, this is why researchers came up with the term The Atten­tion Econ­omy.

Twit­ter begs to dif­fer though and promises users “ads they love” — now that sounds like a bit of a stretch, but actu­ally, metadata-infos might do the trick. But until the com­pany get’s their own “AdTweets” up and run­ning, you’ll just love ad.ly.

In the light of Twitter’s immense growth over the last 6 months the team needs to mon­e­tize their ser­vice, and Twit­ter has never been too strict or too reluc­tant about allow­ing com­mer­cial con­tent on their plat­form. And the cloud-hosted infra­struc­ture gets increas­ingly expen­sive: each day, microblog­gers are cur­rently send­ing 27,3 mio tweets) or 10 bil­lions a year, yet last month the over­all num­ber of tweets reached 5 billion.

Twit­ter announced that they’re going to get rid of the SUL (sug­gested users list) which packed a lot of punch:

The ben­e­fits to get­ting on the list are great indeed. Users added to the SUL, gained on aver­age of 53,000 new fol­low­ers after being on the list for a week and 170,000 within the first month. Some users even gained as many as 370,000 in the first 30 days.

Ear­lier this year, there were some spec­u­la­tions about paid spots on this list — by now it seems much more likely that Twit­ter will replace the sta­tic list with some — yet to be defined — author­ity algo­rithm, while adver­tis­ing will hap­pen some­where else. Scoble sug­gests the metadata-section of so-called “SuperTweets”:

So, what is a SuperTweet?

Well, first, some rules for build­ing new ads and fea­tures for Twit­ter that peo­ple will love.

1. You can’t mess with the Tweet. That’s sacro­sanct. So, we’re stuck with the 140 char­ac­ter rules, along with the rules of @replies and hash­tags and all that.
2. You may NOT intro­duce new ad mod­els inside the Tweet. You may NOT put ads inside Tweets.
3. You may NOT intro­duce new ads that look like Tweets.

So, what is a SuperTweet?

It is a Tweet with a meta data payload.

Think about all the meta data that exist OUTSIDE of the Tweet. How about you mouse-over a Tweet to see a new slide-down UI that shows you all the meta data.

The basic idea is adding surplus-value to a tweet. That’s basi­cally what a lot of music ser­vices do: while they offer free stream­ing con­tent, a link labelled “buy this mp3 at XYZ” lets lis­ten­ers buy their favorite tune. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are quite limitless:

How about a Tweet that talks about a book. Some­one could write “Loved Trust Agents by Bro­gan.” That could link to Ama­zon so you could put it on your Kindle.

There is ton of things that Twit­ter could do here to bring ads that peo­ple love, thanks to a Super­Tweet infra­struc­ture, and yes, I will love it.

Of course, this kind of adver­tis­ing would require some changes in Twit­ter clients. What good is the ad-metadata, if the user doesn’t get to see it? On the other hand, Twitter’s web inter­face still is the weapon of choice for most users: 47 per­cent pre­fer the browser-interface, so Twit­ter can def­i­nitely pack some punch in this field.

Are Super­Tweets the future of Twit­ter adver­tis­ing, then? Prob­a­bly yes, but one ques­tions remains: will this sys­tem only work for large brands and retail­ers, or will the “key­word book­ings” be acces­si­ble for any­one? We’ll find out when and if Twit­ter launches Super­Tweets, but in the mean­time there’s no need to wait: in the last 6 months, a cou­ple of 3rd party adver­tis­ing ser­vices launched their sites. The basic prin­ci­ple always is the same: microblog­gers reg­is­ter their accounts and get paid for ad tweets based on their num­ber of fol­low­ers. Adver­tis­ers use the inter­face to offer their spon­sored tweets, some scripts do their match-making work and the microblog­ger says yes or no.

I got offered up to 200$ for a sin­gle tweet, but haven’t sent out any ads yet — but I prob­a­bly will: Thanks to the approval sys­tem, there is no dan­ger of spam­ming your fol­low­ers. Among those ser­vices, ad.ly is my per­sonal favorite: it’s a viable eco-system, they have plenty of adver­tis­ers and tweep­ers and the best thing is: even if your num­ber of fol­low­ers is low, there’s still a great way to make some decent profit: last week, ad.ly launched their affil­i­ate pro­gram which pays 12%!

Why is this great? Even if you only have 100 fol­low­ers on your own account, get­ting a cou­ple of Twit­ter whales to sign up with ad.ly will earn you decent amount of cash. Also, to pre­vent manip­u­la­tion ad.ly is quite strict about their “qual­ity score”:

Sean told me that unlike every other Twit­ter net­work, the ad.ly self ser­vice plat­form works off of a qual­ity score. A user with 200 REAL FOLLOWERS could make more than some­one with 20000 bot fol­low­ers that never click or convert.

So there’s no rea­son to wait — actu­ally, the longer you wait the more money you leave on the table. And even if you’re not into mon­e­tiz­ing your own account, you’re prob­a­bly very inter­ested in your own qual­ity score, so…

sign up with ad.ly!