CHARLIE OLIVER

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They’re Heeere – Twitter Unleashes Army of Zombie Advertisers on Users!

"Gives us tweets!"

Grab the kids and your pets and run for the hills! The advertisers are coming! The advertisers are coming!

Today Twitter will unveil the details of a new advertising program called Promoted Tweets that will allow advertisers to purchase key words for premium visibility whenever you search for keywords in Twitter (linking you directly to their ads).

Are we about to be besieged with ads that (while vaguely relevant to your search query) will, none-the-less, be intrusive and an annoyance? Will big-brand advertisers suck the life’s-blood out of the Twitter-User experience?

According to the New York Times (@nytimes), the ads will give companies the opportunity to be injected directly into the real-time conversation of Twitter (which, presently, is very difficult to do). Though the exact details of the new monetization won’t be revealed until later today, the New York Times has been given a preview of the new platform:

“When a Twitter user searches for a word an advertiser bought, the promoted message will show up at the top of the results, even if it was written much earlier. The posts say they are promoted by the company in small type, and when someone rolls over a promoted post with a cursor, it turns yellow.

The ads will also be a way for companies to enter the conversation when it turns negative. Several companies have created tools to measure sentiment on Twitter, but until now, businesses can do little with that information. Even if they write a post in response, it also quickly gets lost in a sea of complaints.”

Twitter - ready to get down to business and rake in the cashola.

The new platform will literally measure how relevant a topic is and the number of retweets (clicks) on a particular keyword to generate what they call a “resonance score”. If a keyword/topic drops beneath a certain resonance score, the advertiser will no longer have to pay for the post and Tweeters will not see the ads.

Similar to CPMs, companies will initially pay per thousand people who click on promoted posts. As the program grows and Twitter collects data on user-engagement with the ads, they will change the ad rates accordingly.

Here’s another (even more frightening) reason to “run for the hills”: shortly after the launch of this phase of their new monetization, Twitter will actually begin to show ads within your tweet stream (and tweets) whether you perform a search for a key word or not. Can you say, “Yikes!”

A few of the big brands who have already eagerly signed on include Best Buy, Virgin America, Starbucks and Bravo. But what does all of this mean for the small businesses and startups?

But the big question is: Can you, as an internet entrepreneur, benefit from this?

Dick Costolo (Chief Operating Officer, Twitter – @dickc) thinks everyone will have a shot at advertising/marketing gold with this new platform:

“The idea behind Promoted Tweets is that we want to enhance the communications that companies are already having with customers on Twitter.”

Anamitra Banerji (@anamitra), who manages commercial products at Twitter, assures us that Twitter will:

“be able to increase awareness in that instance when the iron is most malleable.”

But with the competition for keywords being what they are, it seems small businesses might be left in the cold. Other advertising platforms from other companies have also launched similar ad strategies including Assetize.com and SponsoredTweets.com (both allow advertisers to sponsor your tweets).

I remain cautiously optimistic. Nobody likes ads (least of all social media users), but as an internet marketer I understand their place and relevance (and let’s be honest, anything beats Facebook‘s Beacon disaster two years ago).

What do you guys think? Will the Twitter community embrace this new advertising platform, or pack the kids and pets and run for the hills?

Read the original NY Times post here.

[polldaddy poll=”3048439″]

2.5 Year Old Masters Dad’s iPad – Demonstrates Apple’s Brilliance (VIDEO)

By keeping products super-simple, Apple has created a cult following.

What does it say when a baby (2.5 years old – as her father posted on the video below) can whiz through an iPad easier than a block puzzle?

We are witnessing the mind-blowing speed at which technology is changing how we communicate (children today are practically born with smartphones and laptops in their hands!). But this is also an incredible demonstration of Apple‘s marketing genius (they might want to use this video, which is quickly becoming a viral video hit, in their ad campaign for iPad).

Apple trumps all because they build products so simple even a baby can use them (the cutie in this video is practically giving us a product demonstration). While that may not do much for our egos (gee, are we really that dense at figuring out how to use gadgets?), Apple understands that, at the end of the day, we want usability and functionality in really cool packaging. That is why the iPod and iPad are revolutionary and have changed the game.

Simple sells.

Even a baby understands that marketing golden rule.

Online Startup Quirky.com Receives $6 Million in Funding

Quirky can be innovative. Just ask the founders of Quirky.com (a startup that literally crowdsources innovation by asking users to submit design ideas and then using the wisdom of the crowd to refine and market the new product).

Being Quirky puts entrepreneur Ben Kaufman on the map.

According to Fast Company (@fastcompany), Quirky (@quirkyinc) (though initially consider a bit too “quirky” to be relevant by the business publication) has been awarded $6 million in Series A investment funding. Not bad for the oddball company that had to prove its relevance and, even more challenging, prove that being different is still worth gambling on.

Their company, service and website is so compelling that I’ve included the pitch and description of what Quirky actually does from their website:

“Everyone has a product idea…

Chances are, you do too. Several years ago, our entrepreneur-in-chief, Ben, launched two successful businesses based on this premise: mophie, an iPod/iPhone accessories line, and kluster, an online group decision-making platform.

While running these companies, he received literally thousands of emails from people all over the world asking the same question: I have an idea for a product and think you can help me get it out of my head and into the marketplace. How do I start?

The truth is, neither mophie nor kluster were created to answer that question. They did, however, uncover the solution to bringing virtually any product idea to life. Part platform, part process, Quirky is rapidly changing the way people think about product development by using a unique method to harness the power of creativity.”

Fast Company calls Quirky “the most interesting experiment in how products are designed and produce in recent memory.” It’s not only a social experiment, it’s the brainchild of an entrepreneur who had not even graduated college yet when the company was launched.

Quirky’s founder (23 year old Ben Kaufman@benkaufman) founded and launched Quirky in June 2009 with $1.6 million donated from friends and family (a cushion most entrepreneurs can only dream of). Now, with 20,000 users on its website and 12 products manufactured from its crowdsourcing design factory, the company is ready to move into the major leagues with funding from several VC firms (including RRE Ventures, Village Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, and Lowercase Capital) and unnamed angel investors. The Fast Company article can be found here.

Score one for the scrappy and quirky one-year old startup.

Betsy Shulman
The Elephant Entrepreneur
646.306.4721