Gini Dietrich

@anywhere: Twitter Unveils Its Advertising Platform

By: Gini Dietrich | March 17, 2010 | 

A year ago, I cautioned people that if we aren’t careful, Twitter was going to eventually be a bunch of PR people talking to a bunch of PR people. Then, last week, I boldly predicted that I think Twitter is going to die if they don’t quickly figure out how to make money. So I was anxious to hear the big advertising announcement by Twitter earlier this week…hoping they’ve figured out how to monetize, and balance the professions who participate in, my favorite social platform.

Um, not so much.

From their blog

Our open technology platform is well known and Twitter APIs are already widely implemented but this is a different approach because we’ve created something incredibly simple. Rather than implementing APIs, site owners need only drop in a few lines of javascript. This new set of frameworks is called @anywhere.

Okay. So say I want drop in a few lines of javascript to this blog. I do that and now people can tweet directly from my site? Isn’t that what the TweetMeme button does at the top of each post?

But there’s more.

When we’re ready to launch, initial participating sites will include Amazon, AdAge, Bing, Citysearch, Digg, eBay, The Huffington Post, Meebo,, The New York Times,, Yahoo!, and YouTube. Imagine being able to follow a New York Times journalist directly from her byline, tweet about a video without leaving YouTube, and discover new Twitter accounts while visiting the Yahoo! home page—and that’s just the beginning. Twitter has proven to be compelling in a variety of ways. With @anywhere, web site owners and operators will be able to offer visitors more value with less heavy lifting.

So, initially, this won’t be available to me. That’s fine. But what they’re describing sounds like an RSS feed to me. But instead of the content coming directly to me, I go to the New York Times (for instance) and I read a reporter I really like. From there, I can follow her on Twitter and read her stream, without leaving her article on the newspaper’s Web site.

Perhaps I’m dense. Or maybe it’s because I don’t understand programming and developing. But this makes no sense to me. Maybe it’ll be like Facebook Connect (which I still can’t find value in using) or it’ll create a way for me to stop using TweetDeck (please, no! I love my TweetDeck). There is still more news to come, which will be announced at their developer conference next month.

Until then…where is the advertising in this? How do they balance who participates on the social platform? How are they going to monetize it? What am I missing?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I’m with you, Gini. Not getting @anywhere quite yet. I think the other issue at play here that you hit on is how does this get at the advertising issue? I’m not following that, either. Maybe that’s the disconnect–it doesn’t have anything to do with advertising. But, isn’t that the announcement they were selling at SXSW? Confused.


  • PR professionals and journalists, Gini! Don’t forget about our Twitter-crazed bunch.

    As for @anywhere, and in response to Arik’s comment, it’s not an advertising platform — Twitter never said it was going to announce an advertising platform at SXSW (that was a rumor only).

    In time, Twitter probably will unveil some sort of ad platform; they’ve hinted as much in the past (see:

    We all need to be patient when it comes to this.

  • This wasn’t their ad play, as I understand it. It has revenue potential in the way that Snap (the awful preview service) makes money with ads. But my read was that it was more of a Facebook Connect development, which for site and content owners can be very compelling.

    Overall the move seems a bit unnecessary, as tools already facilitate this to some degree, but it is useful to keep people where they are and to build insight into linked content within a site’s ecosystem.

  • Nate C.

    It has to be a decentralized model, because adding a “twitter from here” box to other websites obviously limits the amount of time one spends on or twitter clients. So how can twitter make money by giving away their API? maybe they’re not giving it away – if I no longer have to click away from the site I’m browsing to tweet something about that site, I spend more time on the site (ad revenue for that site) and I’m also more likely to twitter about what i’m viewing (more new eyes drawn to the site, more ad revenue for the site).

    It’s just a guess, but either twitter is selling this functionality to these major sites, or they’re giving away the function and receiving a percentage of twitter-sourced traffic and ad revenue after-the-fact. The measurement needed to make this second approach profitable would explain why you can’t put this on a personal blog yet – not enough analytics.


  • Rob

    This feels more like a Twitter attempt to sneak into all sorts of places their niche doesn’t really fit. If there weren’t already a host of plugins and access to APIs to do this it might be a useful service.

    As Craig said, this isn’t so much an advertising platform – but what I’m going to go out on a limb and say is that it’s the beginning of an advertising platform that has the potential to have a whole lot of reach.

    Tweet anywhere — advertise anywhere.

  • Nate has a great point – if I don’t have to leave the site to tweet something, there is suddenly value in not only number of readers and subscribers, but in how long they spend on your site. So this could potentially be an advertising play in that the companies they’ve listed are paying for the Twitter API on their sites. I can actually see that working.

  • I am so glad you wrote about this –

    Agreeing with DShan ~ I was wondering how it was any different than my “hootlet” or sharethis where I don’t leave the site already. Firefox plug-in that auto-completes my @’s to schedule, save or send –

    Nate – I agree…and does anyone spend much time on the web interface (at least avid users) other than to find your “re-tweets” made from the RT buttons…since we have apps like tweetdeck and hootsuite?

    My sudden fear; will they start limiting the API’s now to only those paying for it…in addition to a revenue generator, this would help them prevent Oauth of malicious sites/hackers?

    Again, thanks for posting and I love the active comments on your site =)

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  • Following Nate’s remark, it does sound interesting. While there may be apps out there that already allow people to do something similar, more might be inclined to do so if it’s offered right on the Twitter site. There are likely plenty of people who aren’t tech-inclined enough to think about looking for something like that.

  • Just back from the Social Media World Forum in London and discovered half the people there were techno geeks revelling in their wizardry and like you I couldn’t see the end user value in many of the ideas they were promoting. The big learn for me is how far beind the curve many PR people are and the big companies and brands even further back.

  • Gini Dietrich

    Richard – “techno geeks reveling in their wizardry”. Love that! You’re very right – most PR pros and companies are still behind the curve. Which is great for me because we’re so far ahead of our competition. But it’s also frustrating because what is going on on the Web makes us so much more efficient and it’s all measurable and tangible, that it seems so silly that people aren’t making the change. That being said, trying to figure out what @anywhere means for business still isn’t clear to me.

  • We’re getting another piece of what is a larger mosaic.

    What will media look like in the future? Apparently, Twitter and the Twitter universe are going to be part of it. That seems to be what this latest move is designed to do. Imagine if there were suddenly 70 million people hawking newspaper content.

    The techno geeks will revel in their wizardry – thanks Richard – if online media subscriptions pan out and twitterers take to tweeting from newspaper web pages the way they have from their Twitter clients. Actually, this could be an important flag Twitter has stuck in the media ground. If it works in the important way big media wants it to, they are heroes over there at Twitter headquarters. Institutionally generated news not only can survive, but thrive.

    Monetizing will resemble affiliate marketing. If you – a twitterer – can earn some cash by tweeting about content in the New York Times, that could catch on. Make it a contest, and then you have a hundreds and maybe thousands of people clamoring to move NYT topics into the moving trends on Twitter. So, how does Twitter make money? Could come from selling data to marketers. Could come from something like click-throughs.

    It may be flawed still, which is why I believe it is just part of something bigger.

    But, don’t we already have all this going, you say? Someone help me out here, but maybe it’s just infrastructure we’re seeing built. To eventually charge the NYT for this service, Twitter has to be show it will work. If it works in a big way, well, then it’s crack for the media.

    Twitter has the numbers. It can deliver a huge audience to a particular page. If you’re an affiliate marketer, you work all day and night at making this kind of thing happen. According to AMs, there’s big cash in it – though, I am personally skeptical about it working on a very small scale (and when it has worked on a small scale I suspect there is some shenanigans like hype at work).

    It still depends on a few things happening. Newspapers have to make an online business model work. Someone has to buy at the end of this trail the big guys are so earnestly trying to put buyers on.

    But, it doesn’t mean it can’t work for others. Getting large masses to move to a particular place on the web is the challenge. So, if it all goes well, people in PR have a way to make a living that involves more than just coming up with new spellings for tags. PR can shape successful media and non-media campaigns. I think this could become good news.

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