Photo: Jay Yarow
Last week when I checked my email on my commute home, I was greeted with an unexpected message from someone named Andrea at a site called MyLikes.com.”Hi Jay,” it read, “I work with an impressive list of celebrities and well-known bloggers, tweeters, and famous faces of YouTube. We’ve found you to be amongst the most influential personalities on Twitter, and we want to invite you to use our platform, and monetise your influence.”
I was sceptical because I’m obviously not one of the most influential personalities on Twitter. I’m probably not even top 15. It sounded like spam, but I kept reading.
“After you sign up at http://mylikes.com/, with your followership, and engagement level, our system estimates you could make upwards of $1500/week, even at your current rate of tweeting, by signing onto our system and choosing some ‘likes’ to tweet, and with no extra effort.”
Any one of the 3,517 followers I have on Twitter might think I’m dumb, but I’m not that dumb. I knew there was no way I could make $1,500 per week through my tweets.
And yet, I kept mulling it over in my mind.
“$1,500!,” I thought, “That’s a second job, just for tweeting! What if they’re right? What if I really can make that much money. What if, what if, what if? I know I won’t make $1,500, but let’s say I make just $100 a week. I could do that for a few weeks and have money to buy some new golf clubs.”
Once that idea crept into my mind, it was pretty much over. Who could say no to free money for tweeting? Even if it took all summer of using MyLikes.com to get enough money to buy some new clubs, I was willing to do it. Then I could quit using MyLikes.
I briefly wondered if I would annoy my followers. But I really didn’t care. Anyone that’s following me has been getting amazing wit at a discount price. If they couldn’t handle a little ad in the stream, then screw ’em.
(But, my god would I be heartbroken if my follower count dropped.)
At any rate, the next day I decided to sign up at MyLikes.com.
But as soon as I signed up, MyLikes unexpectedly told everyone! Very awkward ... and I was immediately teased by a few followers.
If I 'like' something then it's tweeted out to my followers with '-ad' tagged at the end of the tweet. The Twitter ads were pretty slim pickings.
For $0.28 I could tell my followers about Britney Spears manager looking for a new talent. Not something my followers care about. For $0.04, I could direct them to a Discovery Health story about side effects from prescription drugs. That was closer to something I'd actually tweet.
MyLikes CEO Bindu Reddy later told me that the prices vary based on how many followers a person has, as well as how well their ads perform. If I had 100,000 or more followers I could send out ads worth $1.00 per click. As more people click on my ads, the I could see high prices per click.
This ad didn't pay well, but I thought it would be a good one to send out because it was interesting.
Before sending out the ad, MyLikes asks me to check the site I'm about to endorse. Frankly, it felt a like bit like a content farm, but for $0.04 I gave it a shot.
Just before I sent out the ad, I got cold feet. Suddenly, I DID care about annoying my followers. I warned them about what was coming ...
In one case, an Etsy storefront suggested some really absurd copy. I poked fun at the awful copy in my tweet, and two people clicked on the link, giving me $0.56.
But, later on, Brown Beauties saw my ad copy and decided to take away my money. That's right, retroactively, they went in and took it away. So, I tweeted an ad, which at least 2 people liked, but I didn't get paid.
When I asked the MyLikes CEO about adjusting copy, she said she doesn't want people telling followers to just click on ads because it devalues the link. People would just click and bounce away. Advertisers want it to feel more organic and natural.
I made it natural and it worked, though! Frustrating.
After sending out one ad, I get kind of addicted. It's fun. I send out another ad, and another ad ...
... until MyLikes says: Chill out! I was sending too many ads. That's fine. I stopped sending out ads in bursts.
Here's something to watch out for -- your ads will just blast out on schedule unexpectedly until the advertiser ends its campaign.
Since I started this little experiment, I've sent out 5 tweet ads which have been clicked 43 times. My earnings after 5 days: A paltry $4.07. Hardly on track for the $1,500 I was promised. And still way off from the lower expectations I had of $100 per week.
Reddy told me my the weekly ad rate I was promised was 'grossly wrong,' and 'it shouldn't have happened.'
Probably not. I'm not getting paid much for the ads. And they do feel cheesy.
However, I'm not opposed to MyLikes.com at all. I think it's an interesting little business. (I would probably sell a sponsorship to my Twitter feed if the right offer came in.)
I even think Twitter should steal this idea and offer users the chance to send out some ads from time to time. As long as the tweet is clearly labelled as an ad, what's the problem?
What do you think? Would you sell out your Twitter feed for a few bucks? Would you care if other people did?