Whether it is an April Fools joke or not, Problogger Darren Rowse caught a lot of his followers' attention when he announced the launch of PayPerTweet. While some see this as an opportunity for generating revenue online, there are some who looks at this as a potential Twitter killer if the number of paid advertisement increases through Twitter.
Without this program today, members of Twitter, in their own way, are already doing their share of promotion. This can be in the form of new blog posts, events, beta invites, and simply pointing users to various websites. In a sense, there's nothing really new about it.
However, with programs like PayPerTweet (and I'm sure there'll be more to come), companies can tap Twitter as a medium for announcement, getting feedback or polling, float an idea, or direct plugs.
Creating a Twitter account is an option for companies but it takes time to establish a following. It only gets a bit easier if you are popular or have the patience to follow people, and hoping they will follow you back. Most users though tend to stay away from corporate or brand twitter profiles as they hardly interact.
With programs like PayPerTweet, companies can course their campaign to users who are known for accepting fees to make a plug. This is similar to text advertisements but limited to 140 characters. This can also mean extra revenue for those who are using it to promote various interests and topics.
On the downside, Twitter users who participate in this kind of program may have to control themselves on the number of plugs they'll make versus non-paid plugs. Else, they may lose a lot of followers and be tagged as a Twitter commercial spammer. On the extreme, this may dishearten users if several programs will be offered by various companies that shall compete with PayPerTweet as this will result to more spam.
It will be interesting to see how long or far will a program like this go. The concept of unfair competitive advantage may not be sustained as the 140 character space is not as tough compared to a blog.
Unlike in a blog where attracting regular readers takes time, in Twitter you can decide to follow users and some of them do also follow back. The rate card for every campaign varies as payment can be made based on the number of Twitter plugs and number of followers.
One model is to negotiate a fee with individual Twitter members and agree on a rate. Maybe 1 to 5 dollars per plug and for every 100 followers.
Another would be having a group to tweet a message. As click through can be monitored on whose Twitter message traffic it came from, payment can also be split and be based on the number of clicks.
Is advertising through Twitter by its users inevitable? Yes I think so. It is happening already.
As I implied at the start of the post, PayPerTweet is an April Fool's Joke. Nevertheless, the whole idea is possible and am seriously thinking about it. ;) Happy April Fool's Day!