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For the people who hate the deceptive, spammy, ads in Twitter app HootSuite, we have good news and bad news.
The bad news first: the ads aren’t going away.
The good news: the ads going to start looking less like normal tweets and more like ads.
When HootSuite rolled out a lite version of its iPhone earlier this week, it announced it would try advertising to generate some revenue in lieu of charging for the app.
This isn’t a new strategy, of course. Many app makers have ad supported free editions as well as premium versions.
What seemed to differentiate HootSuite’s ads from its rivals was the way they looked. Specifically, the ads looked exactly the same as the normal tweets, save for a minor “advertisement” label in the top right where a tweet’s time stamp usually goes. If you clicked on the ad, you were taken to the sponsors website.
We heard grumblings that the ads were deceptive, so we asked the company what was going on.
Hoot Suite, the Twitter app-maker, and 140 proof, the Twitter ad network that actually serves the ads, both said they don’t want to the ads to be deceptive. John Mangoonian, a 140 proof founder explained that the mistake was “just a foible of the development process” and an update to the app is on its way. John added, “We have zero desire to mislead or masquerade anyone.”
Hoot Suite echoed that sentiment telling us it was just experimenting with the ads and it certainly doesn’t want to deceive its users.
The companies tell us that in the future the ads will have different colour backgrounds, because “clearly labelling all advertisements is a must,” in the words of John at 140 Proof.
The big question for both of these companies, especially since Twitter plans on rolling out some sort of ad platform next week at South by Southwest, is if the ads work. After all, cramming an ad in the Twitter stream is sort of an old-fashioned way to deliver an ad.
So far, Hoot Suite only has only had a few days of experience with them, so it has no idea if they drum up any sort of revenue.