Twitter launches Promoted Accounts, shuts down Earlybird

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Twitter introduced Promoted Accounts, a new advertising solution enabling marketers to boost their audience by paying the microblogging powerhouse to automatically suggest that users follow brands with similar interests. Speaking Tuesday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mixx Conference in New York City, Twitter COO Dick Costolo said the idea behind Promoted Accounts is to give businesses new opportunities to get informational updates in front of consumers, not just ads.

Promoted Accounts joins existing Twitter initiatives including Promoted Tweets (which appear at the top of updates) and Promoted Trends (appearing on lists of trending topics). Advertisers pay Twitter when users click on a click, which Costolo said occurs about 5 percent of the time.

With the introduction of Promoted Accounts, Twitter will shutter Earlybird Exclusive Offers, which promised time-sensitive deals to users who follow the @earlybird tweet stream. Twitter launched the Earlybird program in early July 2010, touting deals created expressly for its user community--advertiser partners determined the terms of each promotion, including availability, amount and price, with Twitter earning a cut of resulting revenues.

Also on Tuesday, Twitter surpassed MySpace to become the third most popular social networking service in terms of unique visitors. According to comScore, Twitter now boasts more than 160 million users, adding 370,000 more each day--almost 96 million unique visitors accessed Twitter last month, up 76 percent over year-ago totals. By comparison, MySpace welcomed 95 million unique visitors in August, a 17 percent year-over-year decline.

For more on Promoted Accounts:
- read this Los Angeles Times article

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