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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ad.ly Helps Celebs Sell Out (More Than They Already Are)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM

VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Via Wikimedia Commons
​Did you know that Kim Kardashian is a huge fan of Tab soda? Or that Nicole Richie can't get enough of In & Out Burger? Well, you soon might, if new Twitter ad network Ad.ly has its way.

The premise is simple and frankly - at least to me - unsightly. Brand advertisers pay celebrities (and I use that word VERY lightly, given Ad.ly's current lineup of "publishers") with a lot of Twitter followers to Tweet about their product. Ad.ly serves as the conduit between the two, providing a system where they can contact the celebrities and submit a bid for the Tweets and if approved, the celebrity is  compensated nicely. VERY nicely...reports say that users with over one million followers receive payments in the five figures. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to say you like a Double-Double? Thanks, Internets, for taking us to a new low.

And yet it's not surprising; if anything, one could wonder why it took this long. Twitter has skyrocketed in popularity, especially amongst notable people and celebrities. One theory is that Twitter is a medium that provides these folks a forum where they can publically speak their mind after years of being silenced by publicists and managers. Due to the public's obsession with what is actually going on behind closed doors - let's call it the "Celebrities are Just like Us!" theory, to quote a regular US Weekly feature - catching a glimpse into their 'real' lives is captivating. And so the celebrities are gaining followers in the hundreds, if not thousands, of people a day. Those very same, very influential people that brands will pay handsomely to get in front of.

And yet it still seems unsavory. One could call it product placement - do note that each Ad.ly Tweet is marked as such to provide a semblance of transparency - but it feels like an unwelcome intrusion into what many feel is a personal medium. Product placement in television shows and movies seems almost normal these days as we all understand that it takes money to produce these programs, but with Twitter, it's selling out. Basically, it's hard to get behind sponsoring Kim Kardashian to help in CLOTHING her behind.

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Aubrey Sabala

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