A few weeks ago I set up an account with a service that puts advertisements into your Twitter stream. The advertisements offered there are, for the most part, useless. Magpie opened up the door to affiliate sales and everything seemed to go downhill. I don’t have time or care to try to sell someone a MacBook Air for a 7.5% commission. I wanted to be detached from any advertisements that would wind up in my stream and I wanted to label them clearly. When they slipped affiliate links into my stream without my realizing it, I started to have serious doubts about my involvement with them. You can take a look at a search for #ad-space to see what a douche I looked like. These were the advertisements that I ACCEPTED. Could you imagine how stupid I would have looked if I didn’t pre-approve advertisements? Look at a search for #magpie to see.
Who wouldIf you’re not sitting on top of your email waiting for Magpie emails, you’ll likely miss out on the “per view” ads that are offered. When I got offers that weren’t offensively stupid or looked like personal endorsements, I would approve them only to see them end up in an expired queue because I clearly was not on the ball in checking my emails.
If you really want to make some money off of your work on Twitter, use your account to establish your expertise in your field of interest. Earn whuffie and make money off of your reputation for being a smart person instead of 140 character advertisements. However, if you’re looking for a way to make a quick buck off of Twitter, here’s an idea for you to take. Find a clever account name like “newalbums” and talk about new CD releases each week and fill the account with amazon affiliate links. Focus on providing people an easier way to find about what CDs are being released that week. All your discovery work is already done for you. All you have to do is be the curator of the account. It’s not as simple as allowing someone else to have access to your Twitter account, but then again, you’re not spamming your friends either.
Who would Magpie work for? The account I maintained for the New York Sun while it was still around would have been a good candidate. The account had very little besides headlines and links. We were already spamming our followers with headlines, so a few ads along the way wouldn’t have made a big difference.
Listen to the talk that Merlin Mann and John Gruber gave at SXSW (HOWTO: 149 Surprising Ways to Turbo Charge Your blog with Credibility) and I think that you’ll come to the same conclusion that I did about how useful Magpie really is.
Needless to say, Magpie is now disabled on my account.
If you wind up using my idea for the newalbums twitter account, let me know how well it works. I think it could take off for the right person, but I’m not that person.
UPDATE: Looks like Read Write Web also noticed some of the affiliate sales that are going on in their post How to Sell Your Soul on Twitter and Who’s Buying