Twitter Adds Paid Advertisements, Tweets to Users' Streams

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Twitter has started rolling out new advertising programs in the form of paid tweets that place sponsored advertisements at the top of users’ streams.

Styled to look like standard tweets, posts will appear to users who directly follow sponsoring businesses, brands or charities, and appear at the top of viewers’ timelines. According to Twitter, the messages will appear on-screen once and scroll through the timeline per normal, as would any other missive received through the service. Users can also remove them just by clicking.

Initial advertisers will include Dell, Gatorade, HBO, JetBlue, Groupon, Red Bull, Starbucks, TNT, Virgin America, Sephora and others, with charities such as the American Red Cross and Make-A-Wish Foundation also planning to participate.

Paid ads will appear only to those who already follow sponsored companies and organizations, many of which already tweet out news of special deals and promotional offers. Twitter hopes the new programs will grow its advertising revenues, which currently sit at around only $100 million, much lower than might be expected given its 300 million users.

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