Ok, so let's say you are a big time celebrity, like Lady Gaga or Justin Beiner, and you've got millions of people following you on Twitter. Surely there has to be a way to make money off having that many people listen to you!
Some have tried to make money by promoting certain brands on their feeds but, honestly, it's a tacky move that makes them look like kind of a sell-out. Remember when Lindsay Lohan got caught promoting
the views of the National Inflation Association by slamming the Fed in 2011?
But for publishers, inserting ads in their Twitter stream isn't selling out, it's part of running the business, particularly a business that relies heavily on ads.
Starting Monday, Samsung is going pay the Associated Press an undisclosed amount of money to put sponsored tweets on the AP Twitter feed, the AP has announced.
Samsung will be given two slots every day from January 7 to 11, so that it can be timed with the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The deal is between the AP and Samsung, and Twitter is not involved in any way.
The Associated Press Twitter account has over 1.5 million followers.
While Twitter does have some restrictions regarding this type of arrangement, a spokesperson for the Associated Press told VatorNews that Twitter is aware of the arrangement and pointed toward Twitter's Policy for Tweets With External Sponsorship, which the AP says that it is "following in good standing."
In the policy, Twitter says that the posts must be clearly marked as as being sponsored, and they cannot be automated.
"Your Tweets may be sponsored by a third-party (e.g., a brand) if you manually post or approve each sponsored Tweet before you post it. These Tweets may not be automated or scheduled in advance," it says.
The AP says that the Samsung tweets will be clearly labeled as "SPONSORED TWEETS" and the content for those tweets will be provided by Samsung and handled by staff outside the AP newsroom. To get around the automated restriction, the Tweets will be typed by hand.
"We are thrilled to be taking this next step in social media," Lou Ferrara, the AP managing editor overseeing the newsroom social media efforts, said in statement. "As an industry, we must be looking for new ways to develop revenues while providing good experiences for advertisers and consumers. At the same time, advertisers and audiences expect AP to do that without compromising its core mission of breaking news."
While some may question a supposedly impartial news organization taking money from a private business like Samsung, AP says that it has "developed internal guidelines in recent months so that it may build new business models in the new media landscape without compromising its newsroom values and principles."
The first of Samsung's two sponsored tweets has already gone up.
For a company that has made moves in the last year that are designed to give it greater control over its content, including banning LinkedIn from posting Tweets, and a new API that made it harder for third party apps to develop on the network, it seems odd that Twitter would be ok with a company using its network to promote itself without giving a dime to Twitter.
While Twitter does have Promoted Tweets, which brands who publish on Twitter can purchase to amplify messages to your followers or users who are like their followers, they do not currently have a way to make money off of brands that want to sell access to their Twitter streams, like the AP is doing.
Something tells me that might change soon.
Samsung and Twitter could not be reached for comment.
(Image source: https://twitter.com/ap)