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Your Tweets Sponsored, But Not By Me

The screen grab from, at right, is why Sponsored Tweets is scaring me. Maybe I spend too much time online, but I had to look up who Kendra Wilkinson was; apparently, she's a reality TV star.

But, I, of course, digress. The reason she, um, graces the home page of Sponsored Tweets is because the service is getting people like Wilkinson, and, they hope, other Twitter influentials, to trade their thousands of followers for cold, hard cash, by having them advertise products and services to others. In some ways, it's not as bad as it looks -- as Mashable points out, there are all sorts of disclosures involved, and much control on both the advertiser and Sponsored Tweeter side concerning how these messages will show up. For instance, if you want to be an ST (just couldn't stand spelling it out yet again), you can decide where to target your message instead of sending it to just anyone.

But, despite the care taken by IZEA, ST's parent, my guess is this will only become a hit, if it does at all, in a certain portion of the Twitter-verse -- the part where celebrities, and quasi-celebrities, have thousands of followers who are almost looking to them for guidance on what to buy and don't mind the paid endorser aspect of it. To steal a metaphor from Shel Israel (@shelisrael), the Twitter neighborhoods I hang out in would be quite unforgiving of this type of behavior, and it would be hard for me to put a price on what it would take for me, and most of the people I interact with on Twitter, to alienate everyone in their Twitter circle for a few bucks. Let's just say it's a lot more money than any advertiser would be willing to pay.

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