SponsoredTweets Banned By Twitter?

Having recently posted an article about how to make money with Twitter via SponsoredTweets, Arafat Piyada called my attention about the recent move done by Twitter which is banning all third party ad platforms injecting in-stream advertising. Now, for those of you who have not yet heard about this, here is an excerpt of the announcement:

As our primary concern is the long-term health and value of the network, we have and will continue to forgo near-term revenue opportunities in the service of carefully metering the impact of Promoted Tweets on the user experience. It is critical that the core experience of real-time introductions and information is protected for the user and with an eye toward long-term success for all advertisers, users and the Twitter ecosystem. For this reason, aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API. We are updating our Terms of Service to articulate clearly what we mean by this statement, and we encourage you to read the updated API Terms of Service to be released shortly (*).

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.

(*) And here is an excerpt of the updated Twitter API Terms of Service:


It is our goal to provide you, our ecosystem partner, with a policy that is clear and transparent about what you can do to monetize your Service.

1. Twitter Ads. Twitter reserves the right to serve advertising via its APIs (“Twitter Ads”). If you decide to serve Twitter Ads once we start delivering them, we will share a portion of advertising revenue with you per our then-current terms and conditions.

2. Advertising Around Twitter Content
(a) We encourage you to create advertising opportunities around Twitter content that are compliant with these Rules. In cases where Twitter content is the primary basis of the advertising sale, we require you to compensate us (recoupable against any fees payable to Twitter for data licensing). For example, you may sell sponsorships or branding around gadgets or iframes that include Tweets and other customized visualizations of Twitter. Please contact us for questions and information at [email protected], or to notify us of an advertising opportunity.
(b) You may generally advertise around and on applications or sites that display Tweets, but you may not place any advertisements within the Twitter timeline on your Service other than Twitter Ads.
(c) Your advertisements cannot resemble or reasonably be confused by users as a Tweet.
(d) You may advertise in close proximity to the Twitter timeline (e.g., banner ads above or below timeline), but there must be a clear separation between Twitter content and your advertisements.

3. Using Twitter Content. You must get permission from the user that created the Tweet if You:
(a) want to use their Tweet on a commercial durable good or product (for example, using a Tweet on a t-shirt or a poster or making a book based on someone’s Tweets); or
(b) create an advertisement that implies the sponsorship or endorsement on behalf of the user.

The purpose of this post is not specifically for me to provide an opinion, but rather, request your opinion about the following?

(1) What do you think about this move from Twitter?
(2) Do you see any gray area within the updated API TOS?
(3) The term above, “aside from promoted Tweets“, do you think that SponsoredTweets is included in this ban, or does it apply only to sites such as ad.ly or tweetup.com?

Please share your thoughts and opinions with us by leaving your comment below.


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

28 thoughts on “SponsoredTweets Banned By Twitter?

  • This is the first time I knew about this, basically I just did a sponsor tweet yesterday or something, and I received payment today to my account!

    But what I am sure of is.. if SponsoredTweets are banned from Twitter then this means I lost some $$

    I really don’t see a problem with advertising through Twitter as a media tool!
    .-= Hesham invites you to check this out.. What’s my Competitor’s Conversion Rate? =-.

    • I am the same opinion as you Hesham. Provided advertising is done sparingly and not automatic injections of Tweets, I think it is acceptable. I have also some $$ in SponsoredTweets just waiting to reach the threshold. Curios is that I have still been receiving offers from them. I think ST might just make it out of this because they are really not automatic and all tweets are strictly disclosed. We’ll see

  • The way I understand this new announcement is that they are not letting SponsoredTweets use their API , so you will have to manually copy and paste the ad into your stream. At least I hope that is the way it will be as I do make a bit of money with them.

    • I think that this method (copy and paste) only works for CPC and not the normal offers. As I have mentioned to Hesham, I until today have still some pending offers and I have not seen any official statement from them otherwise. Hopefully they will stick around. They are not that bad compared to others

  • From a personally selfish perspective, I’d like to see Twitter capitalize on all the revenue opportunity they can, even if it means hosing 3rd parties leveraging Twitter’s API going broke.

    These 3rd parties aren’t paying Twitter’s hosting expenses after all.

    The selfish part: Twitter HQ is just a few miles down the road from where I live, and I want them to make great, huge, stupendously large mountains of cash so they can hire more software developers.

    Thank you!
    .-= Dave Doolin invites you to check this out.. Blogging from a Tropical Island Paradise… with Wireless! (Bert Padilla drops in from Cebu) =-.

    • I agree Dave. Many third parties have been taking advantage of Twitters API but then again I do believe that it is Twitters own fault for not having a business model of their own earlier. Maybe they do need someone with your expertise and rather than hosing everyone out, maybe they can charge a commission for using their API and at the same time come up with their own revenue opportunity

  • If they do decide to ban SponsoredTweets, I hope they do it after I reach $50… Hahah!

    They should first offer a better alternative, launch Twitter ads first. :p They are a bit late in realizing the revenue potential from Twitter and I suppose are trying to slowly bring it back. 🙂 I don’t see anything wrong with it.
    .-= reyjr invites you to check this out.. "Earning 10 in 2010" – May Online Earnings Update! =-.

    • The ban has been released Rey and all that remains to be seen is if ST has been affected by this or not. Like you, I am very close to reaching that threshold and would not like to loose it because of this new API TOS. If ST does get banned, I hope that they (SponsoredTweets) would be decent enough to pay everyone regardless of reaching the threshold or not.

  • To me it’s a business oriented move as Twitter planning to put their own ad in our timeline or near our timeline, they don’t allowing other to do the same. A perfect business by killing others business opportunity and also by killing users opportunity. It’s something related of banning flash on Apple store.
    .-= Arafat Hossain Piyada invites you to check this out.. Win A Free Copy Of Office 2010 RTM Via Microsoft =-.

    • No doubt Arafat. The move however seems to be abrupt and would have been nice if there was some sort of run off to make things smoother 🙂

  • Don’t know what to say…good or bad…hmm…I think it is a bad move. For all those who were seeing it as one of the ways to make money online. Even I am using one such program…ad.ly..will have to remove it if its so. Thanks for the update.
    .-= Aswani invites you to check this out.. Does blog money making ideas work for you ? =-.

    • YES Aswani, unfortunately it is true. Twitter will no longer allow third parties that make use of their API to inject Tweets into a users timeline. I am not sure whether ad.ly will be affected by this but I am pretty much sure they will. Maybe they can come out with some alternative, who knows

  • I also heard about Twitter not allowing the commercial use of their API. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing. That way people have to become much more creative.

    • Spot on Julius. Being much more creative is the name of the game. Hopefully, someone will come up with a creative use of Twitters API for monetization purposes and one that won’t be intrusive or “labelled” as SPAM. Thanks for you thoughts
      .-= DiTesco invites you to check this out.. SponsoredTweets CPC: Make Money With Twitter =-.

  • What about retweet.it ? I wonder if that is included in the ban?
    .-= benwaynet invites you to check this out.. Follow Friday =-.

    • Retweet.it is not a monetization “scheme” as far as I can tell. You can purchase or get credits that later people will retweet. It is not automatic and hence does not “inject” automated Tweets. My viwe is that they are not in violation of Twitters API terms of service.

  • Yay, you have the old comment form back.

    As to paid tweets I think you highlighted the relevant section “aside from Promoted Tweets, we will not allow any third party to inject paid tweets”

    To me this means they’re banning the automated tweets and not the ones placed manually by Twitter members. I don’t see a problem with this at all.

    • Hi Sire. Yeah, back to the less “bureaucratic” comment form. I agree with you on this one and it is much simpler and finally someone here did understand exactly the same interpretation I had about “aside from..”. Thanks and as of today, I have had no problems (yet) with SponsoredTweets.

  • I’m of the minority opinion here, but not in general, that it’s a good move by Twitter. So many people are doing it and it’s messing up the general Twitter experience. There’s self promotion of a way, such as mentioning when you’ve written a blog post, and then the blatant advertising where someone sets up an automated service to post something 10 to 20 times a day. Frankly, I’m not mad at Twitter for closing a loophole, and I’m sure someone will come up with another way to get around it, at least until Twitter also figures that out and blocks those people as well.

    By the way, I’ve noticed it happening more with people I don’t follow than people I do, which is why I’m not upset that Twitter is blocking it.

    • HI Mitch. I agree with you. This move was in my opinion pretty much welcomed by the “real” Twitter community and maybe pissed off only those that were blocked by this move. At least for a while, we won’t be seeing much of those auto generated sponsored or whatever Tweets. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  • RT @AussieSire: RT @ditesco: SponsoredTweets Banned By Twitter? #ditesco http://bit.ly/a9ikcH // I'm not mad either.

  • This is a good step, we shOuld remember that twitter is just a microblogging platform, not a marketing, revenue, link sharing or spamming platform 🙂

  • I never heard of this thing before but, I think, this is a good step to enhance Twitter experience for those who only love tweeting personal stuffs.

  • I haven’t used Sponsored Tweets yet, although been thinking about it. I did find this on their Resources page- still not all to clear, but hope it helps.
    “We are launching the first phase of our Promoted Tweets platform with a handful of innovative advertising partners that include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America — with more to come. Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users.”
    see here- http://help.twitter.com/entries/142101-promoted-tweets

    • Hi Michele. Great info you have sent me. Thanks a lot. Hope all is well with you

  • I didn’t make much money from sponsored tweets , i think its a good move but not so good for those who were making money from it.

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