UPDATE: Jack Daniel's, Skinny Girl and Coors Light are using the system.
Twitter has developed a system for obtaining ages of followers, a particularly significant concern for alcohol brands. Until now many booze brands have simply included a note on their account profile stating that followers must be of legal drinking age, and to "Drink responsibly."
According to Twitter, the firm has worked with social media management firm Buddy Media to come up with a more robust answer to the age-proofing question. Brands including Jack Daniels' @JackHoney, Jim Beam's Skinny Girl - @SkinnygirlCKTLS - and MillerCoors' Coors Light and Miller Lite - @CoorsLite and @MillerLite - have tested the system in the past month.
The feature works in a similar way to the standard website age verification systems used for liquor brand websites, but incorporates a Twitter-centric element. When a user clicks to follow a brand, he automatically receives a direct message asking him to affirm his age. Of course, as is the case with age verification systems for sites, there's no way of telling whether the user is actually the age he says he is.
The direct message links to a form on the brand's Twitter page that requires the user to submit his date of birth and agree to Twitter's privacy terms.
If a large enough pool of people contribute age data by following alcohol brands or other brands looking for proof of age, Twitter can be expected to enable ad targeting based on age.
The feature is now available for free to all marketers. They can register at age.twitter.com to submit their brands for approval.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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