April 16, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – Those people who insist that social media, and specifically Twitter, is nothing more than a fad, may soon be proved either right or wrong, as the social networking hotspot unrolls a possibly make-or-break plan to monetize its site with paid ads.

In what’s being called a “billion-dollar valuation”, Twitter on Tuesday launched a new service that will allow advertisers to pay to have their ads show up in site searches. Twitter is the Internet’s “largest micro-publishing service”, according to Wired, yet the site’s managers are still struggling with how to make money from the hugely popular site. The new plan aims to solve that problem.

“Twitter’s ad model should sound familiar to net users, because it’s not unlike Google’s search ads — which let advertisers have links to their services and products show up above and beside search results,” writes Ryan Singel in the Wired.com article. “It’s not a bad model to work off, given those tiny ads propelled Google into one of the world’s top tech companies with enough global clout to even take on Microsoft and the Chinese government.”

And the connection to the online casino affiliate marketing industry is that online marketers already know how to use Google AdWords to position ads (even if U.S. laws won’t allow such activity in the United States). So those people, companies and brands looking to get their message out in front of more people will easily understand the logistics of how it works.

But in addition to this chance for advertisers to reach more people, this new service could provide revenue for those affiliate marketers who have built a large amount of Twitter followers. “L.A. indie rock band Hypnogaja doesn’t have a large marketing budget or the backing of a major label, but it does have 1.2 million Twitter followers. And that was recently worth $3,500,” explains Jessica Guynn at the L.A. Times. “The band made the money by sending out two, 140-character tweets plugging other musical acts … to its huge Twitter entourage.”

So, if you’ve built thousands of followers, you may be in a position to sell that audience to some of the online gaming brands you promote through your affiliate site (provided Twitter will allow online gambling advertising).

So far, the service is on a modest scale, with only a single “sponsored tweet” being allowed per search. But if the new idea proves successful — and if the volatile social media Internet community doesn’t condemn it — there’s no doubt it will soon be implemented on a larger scale.

“We are simply following our long-held ethos of putting user value before profit,” Twitter spokeswoman Jenna Sampson told Wired.com, in what can perhaps be described as a bit of reverse psychology. “We also want to ensure that Promoted Tweets are additive to the user experience as opposed to simply ensuring that they don’t detract from it. This takes a careful, thoughtful approach.”

This isn’t a sure thing; similar efforts by that other social media name brand, Facebook, have performed poorly in the past. But what’s interesting about this initiative is that it not only changes Twitter’s dynamics, it also may even pose a challenge for Google’s dominant search engine marketing field in the near future — something that bigger brands such as Microsoft have been trying to do for years.

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