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Twitter To Start Selling Followers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the supply-would-seem-to-far-outstrip-demand dept.

Advertising 95

Ellie K writes "While not quite as bad as it sounds, Twitter will soon be identifying followers with certain interests based on the content of their Twitter usage, and then providing this info to advertisers. Twitter is already selling sponsored Tweets for $100K or more. These reader comments captured the disquieting feeling I have: 'Twitter selling followers? Will that be the same as Google selling top position in SERP?' and 'I wonder when Facebook will start to sell friends.' Advertisers will be allowed to purchase placement in lists of 'who to follow' recommendations targeted to users with particular interests on Twitter."

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Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774866)

Okay, this is a trend that Slashdot has been a little slow to adopt so it's understandable the editors don't understand it fully.

Application Programmer Interfaces or APIs for short is a concept on the web that means sites with large databases make most of their data available to programmers in machine-friendly requests and answers. Facebook and Myspace do this, so does Google and Yahoo!. There's several huge directories of all the APIs that are out there, and even companies such as The Mashery that help companies make their data available via APIs.

There's presently no Slashdot API but there really should be. Slashdot supports OpenID logins, but not the outbound usage of Slashdot user accounts on other sites. Really not keeping up with the times.

So, now that I've explained that concept, here's the question: How is Twitter going to sell follower info when it's easy enough to create free API requests that will return any recent tweet that mentioned whatever the programmer is interested in finding out about, complete with the username so the program can DM, @reply or retweet right away or forward the tweet to a human for review.

Companies that actively use Twitter the right way don't have to pay a cent to Twitter, the API is free. Only if you're clueless or not interesting enough do you have to pay for your promoted topic... just like those who do the web right get free search traffic from Google without needing AdWords. More or less, this new service translates to "We'll write your API app to find users likely to be interested in hearing from you so you don't have to." Uhm, isn't that also a fancy way of saying "your followers list"?

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (2, Interesting)

Cidolfas (1358603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774910)

Companies are already doing the kind of marketing you're talking about. I had the twitter account for the Sci-Fi B movie 'Sharktopus' place me in it's 'Midnight Snack' list after I tweeted about how terrible it looked. (aside - saying that last sentence out loud makes the whole thing sound far more stupid than the process actually is)

As a result, they show up in the 'recent lists you've been put in' in the new twitter interface. Pretty sharp on their part. That being said, I think that doing business with twitter lets you get additional info and, most importantly, more screen space on your target audience's screens than following them. If Best Buy's logo appears on my screen every time I log in, that's a service they couldn't get otherwise.

For that matter, if they didn't make it obtrusive, I wouldn't mind if they put in cheaper, market-targeted promoted tweet into my feed from time to time if it makes the service profitable so they don't have to shut it down when/if venture runs out. I'm sure as hell not likely to pay per month for the service, it's nifty but not life-changing for me.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 4 years ago | (#33777984)

If you can't appreciate the sublime delight and the historical accuracy of the riveting tale of the rampage of a shark-octopus hybrid, you should keep it to yourself.

In all seriousness, I think this service is exactly aimed at those who don't care to use an API-- marketing jerks. My previous employer (not a jerk, btw) sells promotional/advertising packages that comprise of something similar-- his client's product mentioned by "influential" twats to their "follower" twats. Is it worth it? I dunno, but he seems to think it's a service worth selling.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774928)

Slight inaccuracy, you can't DM a user on Twitter unless you're following that user and they also follow you back. You can still @reply to them, and they'll see it in their Mentions tab, which I don't know how many people check and how often.

You're entirely right about it being easy to search for keywords the company is interested in, so that it can know who is talking about it, though. Even more so with the new Streaming API [twitter.com] ... :)

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33776768)

Ok i've got to ask, what does DM mean in this context? I see it and i can only think it means Dungeon Master which makes less sense than the letters alone.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776854)

Direct message. It's short enough that it should just always be written out.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Angel of Woe (1893996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33781210)

I know! Aren't those people who say PM instead of private message soooo annoying? LOL.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (4, Informative)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774986)

Might want to at least finish reading the summary next time, as you've missed the point entirely.

Advertisers will be allowed to purchase placement in lists of 'who to follow' recommendations targeted to users with particular interests on Twitter.

This is fairly literal version of Twitter "selling followers" (not just information about users) -- it's companies being able to 'buy' followers (with the caveat that they're not 'auto-followed', just show up as a 'recommended to follow' for the user). The emphasis on providing the usage information to advertisers seems like it's just a sloppy summary write-up, as it's only important in the context of 'planning' a purchase for these companies.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775466)

Doesn't seem to me to be any worse than the "you may also like.." stuff on Facebook. And Facebook doesn't need to "sell friends", they're basically already doing so with targeted ads.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (3, Funny)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775062)

More likely Slashdot does not undersand Web2.0.

Slashdot is a good old Web 1.0 site where users were not considered a monetiseable item. 10 years ago selling the personal information of your userbase was an anathema. Today selling your user information and extracting maximum value from them is the main and often only business goal of any site. A lot of web 2.0 outfits have no other function and no other business plan but to collect personal preferences (the more intimate the better) and sell them.

The Web 2.0 Marketing has won and the idealism of 1.0 has lost.

Considering the morals in some of the more "brave and advanced" marketing ideas of 2.0, I really do not want to know what 3.0 will be unless they permit the personal ownership of tactical nuclear devices at the same time.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (4, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775110)

Since I am part of the glorious ad-blocker using internet master race I'm fine with my usage patterns being research and used to serve up more relevant ads--as long as I never have to see them. The day it becomes impossible to strip the ads out of some service is the day I stop using it. People like us should be happy about the new business model, it provides free services without ads subsidized by people too incompetent, lazy, or principled to block ads.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775148)

yes, best if all use ad blockers so no one will see the ads.

slashdot running on free donations ? don't think so.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776194)

If the donation amount was $10 on average (amongst the few that actually donate). And running /. probably doesn't cost more than $4000. And there are prolly about 70-90k active users on /. That means that .5% of people have to donate, which doesn't seem too unreasonable. Anything past that is income for taco.

The 'drake equation' for people who want to guess their own figures:
[Cost to run /.] = [% of people that need to donate] * [number of users on /.] * [Avg donation amount]

Sub in w/e you want to guess at and solve.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776982)

Slashdot used to cost 4000$ when Taco was running it on an Alpha from under the desk in his dorm and when nobody was looking at the number of digits in your ID. That is how much one of those things used to cost in those days. IIRC that was exactly what it ran on first (surprising it did not barf that often as perl memory management on a 64 bit system in those days leaved a lot to be desired).

It definitely does not cost that now. I would guess that you are off by an order of magnitude at least.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33781282)

I meant server fees per month. But my guess doesn't matter a whole lot. Stick in your own variables... Thats why i put it that way.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776314)

I don't mind letting slashdot make some revenue off ads. Certainly, they have their uses. For example, when it comes time to buy my own server instead of using my hosts server, I'll look at both IBM and HP.

As for my personal info, my slashdot journal [slashdot.org] has a LOT, so how is anyone going to sell "private info" when it's already out there?

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775152)

Keep in mind that Web 1.0 was followed by a CRASH before Web 2.0. Thus, we might see another nice CRASH if people tell these sites to "FUCK OFF!!111!", and Web 3.0 will have to find a new bussines model.

But if one looks at the logical progression, one might predict the bussines model and be the first on the scene:

1 - sell adds
2 - sell people's info
3 - following the progression from selling ads to view to selling info serecty gathered, I predict #3 will be to sell actual people without them realizing it

Hmm, any up-and-comming bussines lads may want to look into the slave trade, specifically temp workers for corperations to large to bother naming themselfs.

Disclaimer: only part of this is a joke.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (4, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775610)

More likely Slashdot does not undersand Web2.0.

Slashdot is a good old Web 1.0 site where users were not considered a monetiseable item. 10 years ago selling the personal information of your userbase was an anathema. Today selling your user information and extracting maximum value from them is the main and often only business goal of any site. A lot of web 2.0 outfits have no other function and no other business plan but to collect personal preferences (the more intimate the better) and sell them.

I only there was a way to extract information from /. users.
Maybe with a poll...

Tell me arivanov (12034)
Do you typically read about __ books per year?
1. 0 to 10
2. 11 to 20
3. 21 to 30
4. 31 to 40
5. 41 to 50
6. 50+

While you're at it [slashdot.org] , could you tell me... your level of job satisfaction, how 'smart' your cellphone is, the # of employees in your workplace, what kind of camera you use, how many LED lights you can see before you go to bed, how many icons are on your desktop, how many pieces of snail mail you get per day, the mileage of your car, the size of your display, and about 800 other details of your life?

These polls brought to you by Slashdot.org, a subsidiary of Geeknet, Inc. [geek.net]

Re: Web X.0 (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775612)

Hallo.

You've hit on a topic I've pondered for a long time now.

Following the version concept, I think we're well past 2.0 now, right? Wouldn't "2.0" be "Look, it's free! * "
Your choice if we're at 2.2, or 2.6, or something, but now "free * " is now clearly known as "but we'll do stuff with your data". People still like Facebook, but I'm pretty sure most of the users now have a vague inkling that they're being marketed to, even if they can't figure all of it out.

(Facebook, the movie!? http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2021322,00.html?xid=rss-topstories [time.com] )

I like to think Web 3.0 might be a pro-privacy backlash, however long it takes to get here, and however short lived.

(Thank you for just now making me wonder what Web 4.0 is!? )

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775870)

How is this new?

People have been fucking each other over for years.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775072)

So, now that I've explained that concept, here's the question: How is Twitter going to sell follower info when it's easy enough to create free API requests

Well, for one thing, Twitter have send their entire stream of tweets to third parties [readwriteweb.com] . Presumably they require a good bribe for that scale of privacy violation.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (2, Informative)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775238)

Um, how exactly is sending everybody's tweets to third parties a privacy violation? Direct messages yes, but tweets in general do not appear to have any way for the sender to specify a limit as to who can read them.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775392)

No, but there is a trust network there, like on many other social networks. When you tweet something, it's reasonable to expect that only people who've taken an interest in you are following it. Yes, that could be anyone -- a close friend, a friend of a close friend who was introduced to you via retweets or something like that... however, it is unlikely to be someone at doubleclick.net, or someone at the FBI.

Yes, these unwelcome groups may decide to simple scrape twitter feeds, and I'm OK with that; their own actions would make them unpopular eventually anyway. That's not the issue. The issue is that twitter may be assisting them to work against twitter users, for money.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (2, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775442)

No, sorry, there is no such thing as a trust network.

When I walk around on the street and scream something to somebody walking on the other side, everybody around can listen in and -- should they wish to do so -- distribute it further. There is no trust network where only people who know me can hear me screaming unless I take explicit precautions to do so.

Similarly, anything you post to twitter is public. If you wish to keep it private, post it on your own password-protected site.

More to the point; you CAN reasonably expect any advertiser to take an interrest in you if there is even the slightest change that they could shove advertising in your face. It may not be the kind of interrest you want, but they ARE interrested.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776050)

Similarly, anything you post to twitter is public

Not necessarily true. My wife has her twitter feed set to private, with whitelisted-only access -- anyone who goes there who isn't on the whitelist gets "This person has protected their tweets".

A person with that setting enabled has (or should be able to have) a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776340)

No, sorry, there is no such thing as a trust network.

No, sorry, there is, even if the technical term is slightly different.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_of_trust [wikipedia.org]
http://www.rubin.ch/pgp/weboftrust.en.html [rubin.ch]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friend-to-friend [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776376)

When I walk around on the street and scream something to somebody walking on the other side, everybody around can listen in and -- should they wish to do so -- distribute it further.

Or, should you continue in this behaviour, have you safely locked away.

Because there is such a thing as a trust network, and you're not part of it.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 4 years ago | (#33777402)

Exactly; you could have also said "If you wish to keep it private, don't post it at all," but this concept seems foreign to people who are concerned with privacy issues on the internet.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775748)

I disagree. Twitter has always been honest about your messages being completely public and you having no exception of privacy. In fact, that's the whole point of Twitter: a massive "party" where everyone can talk to everyone and conversely, listen to everyone.

In fact, this is confirmed by the way you have no control over who follows you: I made exactly 1 post, and yet I have 6 followers that I don't know who they are. For all I know one of them is an ECHELON account and the other Google's bot.
So they don't need to scrape anything, they just need to follow you normally.

For privacy violations to occur there has to be some blocking mechanism that you didn't reasonably expect $COMPANY to bypass. In this case, it's like complaining Google knows the search terms you input in their website.

Twitter is out, Google's "Live" feed is in! (-1, Troll)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775172)

Twitter is so yesterday. Try Google Live [goo.gl] instead!

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775184)

Okay, this is a trend that Slashdot has been a little slow to adopt so it's understandable the editors don't understand it fully. Application Programmer Interfaces or APIs for short is a concept on the web that means sites with large databases make most of their data available to programmers in machine-friendly requests and answers. Facebook and Myspace do this, so does Google and Yahoo!. There's several huge directories of all the APIs that are out there, and even companies such as The Mashery that help companies make their data available via APIs. There's presently no Slashdot API but there really should be. Slashdot supports OpenID logins, but not the outbound usage of Slashdot user accounts on other sites. Really not keeping up with the times. So, now that I've explained that concept, here's the question: How is Twitter going to sell follower info when it's easy enough to create free API requests that will return any recent tweet that mentioned whatever the programmer is interested in finding out about, complete with the username so the program can DM, @reply or retweet right away or forward the tweet to a human for review. Companies that actively use Twitter the right way don't have to pay a cent to Twitter, the API is free. Only if you're clueless or not interesting enough do you have to pay for your promoted topic... just like those who do the web right get free search traffic from Google without needing AdWords. More or less, this new service translates to "We'll write your API app to find users likely to be interested in hearing from you so you don't have to." Uhm, isn't that also a fancy way of saying "your followers list"?

tl;dr:

Google does this, so does Yahoo. They sell your data that you are freely giving to them (and of course they're giving you FREE use of their services). Of course you don't care otherwise you wouldn't be freely giving it to them right? RIGHT?! You've shown that you just don't give a fuck so Slashdot will be doing this shortly.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775288)

There's presently no Slashdot API but there really should be. Slashdot supports OpenID logins, but not the outbound usage of Slashdot user accounts on other sites. Really not keeping up with the times.

I'd be happy if slashdot used HTML that worked properly. Given the level of incompetence among the "developers" at slashdot (do they actually exist?) do you really want them to start messing around with APIs?

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775600)

Can't see how it could be worse than the absolutely awful mess the Facebook 'API' is.

http://www.sethcall.com/blog/2010/09/30/facebook-api-does-not-care/ [sethcall.com]

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775716)

Can't see how it could be worse than the absolutely awful mess the Facebook 'API' is.

You can't? This is Slashdot. If they develop APIs the same way they mangle HTML and destroy any kind of editorial process, I believe that slashdot could do a lot worse than Facebook.

If the Facebook API doesn't care about developers, then a Slashdot API would immediately infect developers with the bubonic pague.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775312)

Okay, this is a trend that Slashdot has been a little slow to adopt so it's understandable the editors don't understand it fully.

That actually makes slashdot one of the good guys. That trend is AWFUL, and there's no good reason for slashdot to follow it.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775784)

Why? You do know your whole post history is available by clicking in your nick, right? And you know that dozens of crawlers have already indexed each post, and liked them to any other data they could find about you, right?
And Slashdot even loads dubious domains like demandbase.com (according to NoScript).

So if all your public data is already crawled, indexed, linked and sold, what's the problem with offering a few convinience tools like letting people login to other websites using their /. profile (using OpenID, obviously) or providing an API/RSS feed for you to know when anyone replies to you, for example?

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#33778794)

  • or providing an API/RSS feed for you to know when anyone replies to you, for example?

    http://slashdot.org/faq/feeds.shtml [slashdot.org] - Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the feature already exists. Just make sure your preferences are set such that you receive a message regarding a reply...

  • You said:

    what's the problem with offering a few convinience tools like letting people login to other websites using their /. profile (using OpenID, obviously) or providing an API/RSS feed for you to know when anyone replies to you, for example?

    Other websites that I go to have different user ID's, and completely original passwords. Cross contamination of passwords is a great way to lose when your password gets stolen one day. To me it is just not worth the headache.

  • Now for the access to all this data, the real question is for what? I think to me this could be be summed up by the text located beneath every poll I've seen on Slashdot:

    This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

Angel of Woe (1893996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33781306)

Why would anyone want to use the same username/password to log in everywhere? Isn't that....really...really...stupid? There's are reason my firewall, routers, modem, computer, logins (work, email, etc) are all completely different. Is it hard to remember? No...not really, and I have a poor memory. It is, however, a lot safer. When one of my passwords gets cracked, I just change it. None of the other stuff is affected (of course several of them I change once a month at the very least to begin with). Universal logins is suicide. Once one thing is cracked, they have access to EVERYTHING.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782396)

On the other hand, with a system like this you can have authentication through personal certificates & possibly double factor, because it doesn't depend on each system to provide it.

Of course, people could hack my machine and steal my private key (and my phone, if I also use SMS for authentication, for example), but on the other hand, they could also steal my password manager data, so I don't really care.

I still keep some different passwords that I won't ever give to OpenID (bank, email, SSH, etc), but for 99% of websites, it's much better.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782254)

These aren't convenience functions, they are enabling functions.

The web is huge, and crawling, indexing, and extracting relevant information about a person across many websites is nontrivial work. Moreover, the redundancy involved (how many people are called smith?) makes the data ambiguous. This difficulty and cost of processing is what protects us all.

APIs lower that cost for no good reason. The result is that instead of worrying about Google's and Microsoft's privacy policies, you now have to worry about a lot more people mucking around with, and using, your data, because some website(s) give it away all packaged and ready to use.

To put it another way: APIs let the riffraff play with your data, when before they were always going to be on the sidelines just because information retrieval on the web scale is hard. It's an increase in the scale of the problem.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782372)

I don't try to protect myself using smoke and mirrors. If it's on a website, assuming it's still private because it's "difficult" to access is naive.

To me, I keep three levels of privacy: data that never leaves my machines, data that I trust some third-parties to keep for themselves, and that I send encrypted, and public data that I assume everyone and their mother can access.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33803166)

I don't try to protect myself using smoke and mirrors. If it's on a website, assuming it's still private because it's "difficult" to access is naive.

Nobody is saying it's private _because_ it's difficult to access. What I'm saying is the other way around: difficulty of aggregation actually limits the number of bad guys to a few. It's irresponsible to open predigested aggregate data to everyone.

Here's a car analogy: there are always thieves who can steal your car from a carpark and I agree that you should assume that your car could be stolen every day. But it's irresponsible to leave your car with the doors open and the key in the ignition on a busy street.

That's what social networking sites that offer APIs to anyone do with your private data, and you're arguing that because _some_ thieves out there could steal your car, then making it easier for _everyone_ to steal your data makes no difference. The difference is a matter of the statistics of scale.

Re:Sorry, Slashdot doesn't understand APIs. (1)

lonecrow (931585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33781192)

off topic mini-rant. Why couldn't they keep REST. OpenAuth on my platform is a major drag.

We'll be right back after this promoted content. (5, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774890)

Google has been clear they've never sold search position, PageRank is their secret sauce for making search as good as it is, and they don't corrupt it with ads. They do, however, allow content-targeted ads to appear next to the search results but have always been clear to label what's an ad and what's content on the page.

Twitter's the same way. Every type of paid ad they've allowed gets marked as "promoted" which is their word for "sponsored" or "They paid to be next to the free content we just gave you."

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774942)

Aside the fictional Squirtler, does Twitter have any competition?

I'm not so sure Google has real competition.

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (2, Informative)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775094)

Aside the fictional Squirtler, does Twitter have any competition?

The main competition to Twitter consists of the OStatus standard, and its primary demo site identi.ca . Unfortunately it doesn't have much non-geek traction, mostly because it doesn't have much non-geek traction; no critical mass.

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775250)

I think the only reason google has no real competition is that the name google itself is synonymous with searching the internet. No one says 'hey im gonna yahoo this' or 'i'll bing it and see'

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33780182)

Please make a habit of saying, "Perform a Google search" or "Perform a Yahoo! search". Just avoid using any such as a verb. Although, I do remember Yahoo! commercials on TV asking us something like, "Do you Yahoo!?"

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (0, Troll)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775462)

Yes.
It's called "Sanity".
As soon as "Sanity" starts becoming popular, twitter will be gone.

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775116)

Every type of paid ad they've allowed gets marked as "promoted"

We'll see how long that lasts, as soon as advertisers complain about their click-through rate vs. expenditure, or when twitter clients gain an "Ignore promotions" button.

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775906)

I was unaware that Google had said this. In fact if they have they lie or at least stretch the truth. They allow sponsored results all the time. They mark them as such and they limit their numbers but this is in fact paying for ranking.

Re:We'll be right back after this promoted content (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776904)

They are never present in the main search results. They are above or to the right of the results.

U cnt hv my frst brn f off twtr (4, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774924)

U cnt hv my frst brn f off twtr

Re:U cnt hv my frst brn f off twtr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775724)

Anyone able to translate this? Because I don't get the joke.

Re:U cnt hv my frst brn f off twtr (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#33778092)

"You can't have my first born fuck off twitter."

Google spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33774932)

How about paying Google to allow spam through their filters?

Re:Google spam (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775652)

The whole point of spam is that it is free to send - that explains why sending out 100,000 spam emails & getting as few as 100 (0.1%) responses can still make a profit.

If you start charging for spam messages, it would go away because the cost couldn't justify the returns.

Where are the parents? (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774934)

I told you this would happen.

Twitter to go screw itself. (2, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#33774950)

And it can take facebook along with it. I DON'T CARE.

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775046)

And it can take facebook along with it. I DON'T CARE.

And it can take facebook along with it. I DON'T CARE.

And it can take facebook along with it. I DON'T CARE.

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Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (2, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775156)

Yes waiting for an open source option :)
So much tracking news, from Google, Apple ... Twitter.
Soon be linked in with unique ipod/ipad serial numbers ... someone is working very hard to link devices with ip's with ad tracking.

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782280)

Wait no longer, mere mortal, for there is indenti.ca (and has been for a long time now!)

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782344)

Thanks very much IBBoard :)

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775214)

This. The only time I thought "wow, maybe Twitter has a use" was during the American-sponsored protests of the election in Iran. But then I was reminded [time.com] :

As is so often the case in the media world, Twitter's strengths are also its weaknesses. The vast body of information about current events in Iran that circulates on Twitter is chaotic, subjective and totally unverifiable. It's impossible to authenticate sources. It's also not clear who exactly is using Twitter within Iran, especially in English. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the bulk of tweets are coming from "hyphenated" Iranians not actually in the country who are getting the word out to Western observers, rather than from the protesters themselves, who favor other, less public media. This is, after all, a country where the government once debated the death penalty for dissident bloggers.

It generally wasn't people running around watching things and sending updates on their mobiles. 140 soon-forgotten characters on yet another lazy Internet user medium isn't worth risking your life for when you're protesting such a government. The useful information was exported and placed on traditional and independent news sites/blogs.

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775406)

It's impossible to authenticate sources.

Well sure, if you can't be bothered researching for yourself. Broadcast message services like twitter are about exchanging ideas, globally, quickly. Putting a paper together proving a point with evidence is for links in twitter, or for separate work after you've GOT the idea.

I mean, really, do you ask your friends for authentication every time they tell you something? Ask for irrefutable evidence of veracity every time they mention something they think they heard on TV last year? You don't NEED this kind of evidence to have a conversation and learn new things.

The useful information was exported and placed on traditional and independent news sites/blogs.

Which is kind of the point.

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775496)

Ask for irrefutable evidence of veracity every time they mention something they think they heard on TV last year? You don't NEED this kind of evidence to have a conversation and learn new things.

You must not have the same kind of friends as me. Mine are usually talking about how California is going to sink into the ocean or how John Glenn was shooting down the Germans because could see them from farther away than previously thought humanly possible.... Yeah. I think it's best to get my friends to tell me where they heard their news from.

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775522)

Well sure, if you can't be bothered researching for yourself.

Yes, I'm better off finding more reliable, detailed information elsewhere. If I'm lazy when it comes to current political events, I'm not going to go beyond Twitter and I'm going to have a very distorted, shallow view; if I'm not lazy, I will do the research myself and not use Twitter in the first place.

Broadcast message services like twitter are about exchanging ideas, globally, quickly.

The whole Internet is about exchanging ideas, globally, quickly. Why do I need the restrictive environment of Twitter to do this? Better in the case of the Iranian protests was to read the blogs of people with a connection with Iran who were receiving information from those in Iran, being open about how they have received information and providing a degree of commentary.

I mean, really, do you ask your friends for authentication every time they tell you something?

Strawman. It is likely that you have a good idea as to the reliability and fields of expertise of your friends. They have the time and space to provide detail which you can analyse and discuss. These valuable aspects of knowledge dissemination are missing from Twitter as it was used during the protests.

For all you know I set up a troll account to randomly describe horrible things I "saw". Since it is so easy to make claims in 140 characters and, as you show, Twitter users have low standards for knowledge verification, readers would be sucked up into the mayhem and have another "source" showing how evil the Iranian government is. The regime genuinely being oppressive notwithstanding, such knee-jerk public furor would be quite valuable for anyone wanting to commence military action against Iran.

Ask for irrefutable evidence of veracity every time they mention something they think they heard on TV last year?

If Twitter is about "exchanging ideas globally, quickly" then something my friend thinks he heard on television last year is hopefully not illustrative. For anything nontrivial (e.g. the protests in Iran), I certainly would not take "I think I heard it on TV last year" as confirmation of anything. Would you?

Re:Twitter to go screw itself. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775840)

The whole Internet is about exchanging ideas, globally, quickly. Why do I need the restrictive environment of Twitter to do this?

I'm loathe to say we need Twitter, specifically. But very widely broadcast short messages like this ARE the future; make no mistake. It's the next in the progression, from hand signals and grunting, to speech, to writing on stone, to writing on paper, to runners dispatching that hand-written copy, to the printing press and pony express, to a strong postal service by rail, then by van, to photocopies and airmail, to fax, to email, to Forums, and to smaller IMs and SMS's.

Since the dawn of communication, it seems we've been working towards more interconnected consciousnesses -- a hive mind, if you will. Twitter, especially with tools like tweetdeck, is actually quite a useful step in this evolution, albeit with high signal-to-noise and other flaws. The SNR is partly controlled by trust circles though; if you only follow people who post things you're interested in, it becomes a self-organising hierarchy of global, almost real-time information distribution.

strange brew that's also good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775032)

That would be home made Kombucha, There is a large group of 'followers' already in place. FREE, as in you make it (pay) yourself.

It's easy to get followers. (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775050)

Just offer free iPads for people who follow and retweet your tweets. Then set up sock puppet accounts to say, "Thanks for the iPad! It's awesome!"

I've stopped following dozens of people who fall for that sort of crap. I don't want you to retweet that sh*t in my stream.

Follow me if you think I'm funny or insightful, or if you hate me. I don't care. Same ID.

Thank God... (1, Insightful)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775200)

If you insist on littering the internet with every minutiae of your life, you should have to pay a fine.

Re:Thank God... (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775290)

You can't litter on the Internet because every personal computer connected to it can act as a server and thus publish its whole hard drive, adding "trash" as you would say, but that trash is stored on the computer to whom the trash belongs, thus the Internet was expanded by the amount of trash and no capacity which could be used for something else was taken.

Re:Thank God... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775384)

Nonsense. Trash (a.k.a. spam) ends up on computers not belonging to those whom the trash belongs. That's the whole reason why littering is evil.

Re:Thank God... (1)

Fumus (1258966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775410)

No no. Spam is not what I meant. Twitter is opt-in. You don't like it you don't use it. E-Mails get spammed without asking for it. I'm talking about the equivalent of hosting a blog with nothing but "ABABABABA" for 500 pages. That's not trash since you're hosting it yourself. Or a company does who is agreeing to what you do.

Re:Thank God... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775848)

That's not trash since you're hosting it yourself.

Hosting it yourself, but publishing it globally.

Re:Thank God... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782352)

Hosting it yourself, but making it available globally. There's a difference - you make it sound like radio, where you'd get lots of noise. This is more like opening your front door and saying "come in and read/listen if you want", in that there's no extra noise unless you go there.

Re:Thank God... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782802)

in that there's no extra noise unless you go there.

Search engines go there automatically if you mention it. If you mention it on a forum, people might well click it just to see what it is, and have their time wasted due to miscommunication (or insufficient communication) of what the site is about, which is a form of noise. If you (try to) explain what it is more on another site before people go to it, and it's not useful then you've made even more noise.

If you aren't publishing something, it stays on your own system, not on the web. The web IS publishing.

Re:Thank God... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33783202)

No, hosting a site on the Internet is opening your door. Everything you've said about promoting it is putting up a big sign or going out and shouting about it.

"Publishing" and "your own system" varies depending on how you look at "the Internet" - if the server is your system then you may publish to that server, but that server isn't publishing anything, yet it is still available on (via) the web.

Re:Thank God... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33840172)

OK, let's take your analogy to its logical conclusion. If I open my door, make a speech in my living room, and let you CHOOSE come in to hear some speech, that's one thing. However, if I open that same door, make that same speech in the same place, knowing full well that someone is going to come into my home since I opened the door, record that speech, then go broadcast it all over town, that's quite another. Your choice to hear it is gone. Instead, I have made a choice to make it available via a public distribution system. Who actually does the distribution is largely irrelevant -- just an implementation detail. Arguing that it's not public makes as much sense as arguing that a file copied to your computer for reading is not being downloaded, because the browser doesn't have to save it to a physical file.

Re:Thank God... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33845020)

Who said it needed to be recorded and broadcast over town? The logical conclusion of that analogy would be that you opened the door, recorded the speech and left the recording there for people to listen to or duplicate if they wanted to come in to your house and re-play it (bringing their own recorder if they wanted it for later).

In the analogy then the streets are the Internet and the houses/buildings are the servers and websites - people can freely walk the Internet and drop in on whatever server they want, but they're also free to wander the Internet for ever, never knowing that your server has an open door. The only slight mis-match is that houses with open doors aren't soundproof, so there's a little bit of audio leakage that doesn't occur from just "travelling past" a server, but that could be made analogous to the tiny fraction of your site that leaks out in search engines (although you need the bots to get the link to your site first, but then again people need to walk past a house first).

At the end of the day..... (2, Interesting)

Timtimes (730036) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775244)

How long before you can compose a quick tweet to your friends that you're hungry for pizza and before you can finish hitting the submit button, your doorbell rings and it's the Domino's guy standing there holding a large pepperoni and a two liter coke? Right now I'm thinking about bacon......... Enjoy.

Re:Good news, everyone! (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775602)

Mom already thought of this. Works fine (in fact, it works better than infosquitos) until... "power up the twit"-worm!

LOL! (1)

toby (759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776502)

Sigh. *Never* have mod points when I want 'em. #firstworldproblems & all that

Twitter to start selling flowers? (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775252)

Oh, Followers. Free service sells user info? Move along, nothing new here..

Re:Twitter to start selling flowers? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33776846)

The Fine Summary mentions the potential for Facebook to sell followers. Although I don't know if Facebook is involved, you can already buy Facebook Fans, Likes and Followers as you can see in the ads here [google.com] . This may be how the Microsoft KIN got 200,000 followers.

Business as usual (1)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775334)

Normally, I'd be pretty upset unless you could easily distinguish the ads. It's really deceptive to your users to try and make an advertisement look like legitimate content, yet everybody does it anyway.

Anyhow, this is Twitter, and I don't care. Twitter being deceptive? Quick, call a scientist because I've discovered that water is wet and the Earth is round!

Perfect time for competitor to kill Twitter. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775360)

No ads, a slightly longer character limit...

Boom you win.

Let me fix that for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33775726)

No ads, Boom you lose millions of dollars.

Re:Perfect time for competitor to kill Twitter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33776976)

Either:

  1. Boom, nobody cares, because your alternative doesn't have critical mass (more or less StatusNet/identica).
  2. Boom, you're paying a huge amount for bandwidth, but with no way to make money from it (what twitter's trying to avoid).

What else is new? (4, Informative)

zmooc (33175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33775538)

I wonder when Facebook will start to sell friends.

Isn't that what Facebooks business model is all about?

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_40/b4197064860826.htm [businessweek.com]

http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/02/facebook-bigger-google/ [techcrunch.com]

Re:What else is new? (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 4 years ago | (#33781666)

Wasn't that model predated with say...match.com, Friends Reunited and all those other 'social' sites which charge for being a venue for fostering friendship or romance developments?

...While not as bad as it sounds (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#33777594)

Then why craft the title to sound as bad as it does?

Re:...While not as bad as it sounds (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#33782300)

Yeah, they're not selling followers as much as selling "ad" space that suggests that people with interests that seem to be in line with what you're targeting might want to follow your account. Okay, so it might cut off after X followers rather than X impressions, but it still isn't "Twitter lets you buy followers and make them auto-follow you".

Facebook has been doing its adverts targeted on your interests for ages, I think. My wife uses them for her shop. As long as they're marked as such then I don't have a problem.

As for Twitter, I'm just glad I've got a GUI client most of the time and don't need the web interface and its annoying new design and the extras that came before it (like "why not follow" lists)

Google does it too (1)

Veinor (871770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33777828)

Ugh, next thing you know Google is going to allow companies to pay to get their site linked when people search things! Seriously. You can already grab a list of who someone follows using the public free API, and it looks like paid content is going to be clearly demarcated, just like with sponsored tweets.

didn't you see that coming? (1)

CheeseToasty (1915258) | more than 4 years ago | (#33791840)

heard a good quote about these business models somewhere...

"If you are not paying for a service then you are the product"

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