Earlier this week on the Twitter Blog, Twitter COO Dick Costolo announced that they are updating their Terms of Service. The update will make it no longer possible for third parties to “inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter AP.”
Last month, Twitter started testing phase one of Promoted Tweets with a handful of ad partners. Twitter’s recent announcement seemed to aim at helping them better gauge the success of their new ad platform; they plan on opening up Promoted Tweets to new advertisers and rolling out subsequent phases.
According to Costolo, the rationale behind this move is to help ensure that the integrity and relevance of their ecosystem is preserved:
“Why are we prohibiting these kinds of ads? First, third party ad networks are not necessarily looking to preserve the unique user experience Twitter has created. They may optimize for either market share or short-term revenue at the expense of the long-term health of the Twitter platform. For example, a third party ad network may seek to maximize ad impressions and click through rates even if it leads to a net decrease in Twitter use due to user dissatisfaction.”
“Secondly, the basis for building a lasting advertising network that benefits users should be innovation, not near-term monetization. Twitter is uniquely dependent on and responsible for the long-term health and value of the platform. Accordingly, a necessary focus of Promoted Tweets is to explore ways to create value for our users. Third party ad networks may be optimized for near-term monetization at the expense of innovating or creating the best user experience. We believe it is our responsibility to encourage creative product development and to curb practices that compromise innovation.”
Long before Twitter announced Promoted Tweets, third party services have offered their own forms of Twitter advertising, although not all of them use the timeline to serve ads. It’s looking like this move will affect a variety of individuals. Costolo is encouraging all developers to read the new API Terms of Service, saying they’ll be updated soon.
As Costolo acknowledged that the updated TOS will affect certain companies, he makes reference to the annotate feature, saying that, “we will continue to move as quickly as we can to deliver the Annotations capability to the market so that developers everywhere can create innovative new business solutions on the growing Twitter platform.”
When Twitter announced Annotations last month, developers around the world rejoiced and you could actually hear the simultaneous splatter of drool hitting the floor. With these new Annotations, arbitrary data can be stored and associated with any given tweet. This means tweets can be classified, filtered and even better tracked by way of unique meta data, opening up countless new doors for developers.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Annotations and Promoted Tweets evolve as Twitter strives to maintain a balance between fostering an open ecosystem and maintaining a level of control in which they’re able to start earning a profit.