Twitter Plans More Disclosure of Paid Relationships

  |  March 27, 2009   |  Comments

Co-founder Biz Stone says Twitter will label outbound links on its homepage when ad-related revenue is involved.

Twitter has long used the small "definitions box" in the upper right corner of its homepage to recommend outside tools and services. Initially it had no financial relationships with the recipients of those outbound links -- which have included mobile apps such as TweetDroid and Web site experiences like Twistori. However that's recently changed, as the company has accepted payment for working with Federated Media Publishing on two experiences for advertisers. As part of its support for those efforts, it's begun linking from the homepage definitions box to sponsored Web sites.

Now, one week into its relationship with FM and its advertisers, Twitter is preparing to disclose on its homepage when those outbound links point to sites with which it has paid relationships.

The move is apparently spurred in part by an inquiry from ClickZ. Reached by e-mail today about the company's plans for disclosure within the box, Co-founder Biz Stone said it's not a bad idea.

"We're promoting noteworthy Twitter projects whether we're paid or not but I can see your point about letting folks know if we have a paid relationship with a project developer," he said. "I'll work up a version of our little definitions box that discloses financial relationships when appropriate."

The disclosure issue is a new one for Twitter, which only last Friday unveiled initiatives that will generate its first ad-related revenue. The first is a platform, called ExecTweets, that aggregates the Twitter activity of senior business executives in several industry segments. ExecTweets is sponsored by Microsoft. The second effort, called March Tweetness, is an AT&T sponsored online tool that channels the Twitter buzz about specific teams and games in the NCAA basketball playoffs.

Federated Media told ClickZ this week that it expects an ongoing relationship with Twitter. It acknowledged the revenue generated through such projects is not a significant part of the microblogging service's revenue model.

"The relationship with Twitter is such that we expect that to be a long fruitful relationship in which we will bring many brands into the space," said FM spokesman Matt DiPietro.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

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