Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

27,000 Reasons Why Twitter Is Rolling Out Its Own Photo Service

After a year of hints, nudges and winks, Twitter is launching its own photo service. The company has plenty of high-minded reasons for doing so, and CEO Dick Costolo laid them out during his D9 interview last week.

But it’s important to note that there are other benefits to owning your own photo-sharing service. For instance, Twitter could use its new service to run ads, just like many other photo-sharing services.

Here’s a nice reminder of how that works: A photo of Sunday’s barely-attended Brewers-Marlins game, posted by Sara Livingston, then retweeted yesterday afternoon by MSNBC’s Darren Rovell. It has since been viewed more than 27,000 times.

Right now those views are generating dollars for Twitpic, which is running two ad units on the page, sold by middlemen like Google, Federated Media and VideoEgg. But there’s no reason Twitter couldn’t be running its own ads against that photo and keeping all of the revenue for itself.

Twitter ads on Twitter photos won’t be a magic revenue bullet for the company. And Twitter hasn’t said anything publicly about its ad plans for the service, anyway–my hunch is that if they do runs ads there, they’ll wait a while to do so. (Note that Facebook is only adding a light dusting of ads next to photos its users share, and Facebook is the Web’s biggest photo-sharing service).

Photo ads would be a nice option for Twitter’s sales team, though. Particularly because they don’t require the company to create an entirely new kind of advertising, like they’re trying to do with their “Promoted” suite of products.

Ad buyers are still trying to get their heads around ads like “Promoted Tweets” because they’re not sure what value they’re getting for their money, what kind of users are seeing them, and whether they can buy enough volume to make the thing worthwhile.

But ads on Web pages, next to photos people like to look at? That’s an easy sell. Doesn’t easy sound nice, Adam Bain?

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”