This article was published on May 26, 2010

Twitter killed the in-stream advertising, but here are 4 networks that may still thrive.

Twitter killed the in-stream advertising, but here are 4 networks that may still thrive.
Brad McCarty
Story by

Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

Maybe you’ve heard about a little decision that Twitter has made: no more in-stream advertising from 3rd parties.

There has been rejoicing from users, and grumbling from the networks providing the advertising, but the end result should be a positive spin for the Twitterverse.

But, just as luck tends to favor the prepared, so too does success.  Advertising is still happening on Twitter, and here are 4 companies who are doing it right.


I had a chance to speak with Saif Ajani from Assetize and was honestly so impressed with what he had to show me that I’ll be doing a follow-up post that will focus on the company’s product.

The heart of the matter is that Assetize realizes that in-stream advertising is annoying.  To that end, it’s also fairly ineffective.  To combat that, Assetize lets its users post a link to content, and at the top of the linked page a topbar will appear with advertising and social media functions.  Don’t want the topbar?  Just close it.  Simple.

Since the advertising itself doesn’t happen on Twitter, or within the timeline, Assetize feels only a positive impact from Twitter’s announcement.  The company is fighting hard to stay true to Twitter’s use, and says this on their blog about the matter:

We also agree wholeheartedly with Twitter when they say that, As our users know, we stopped in-stream advertisements a few months ago for this very reason: we felt that in-stream ads took away from the uniqueness that Twitter had to offer, and impeded with the conversational nature of the platform.  As a result, we kept ads outside the platform, and next to other content on destination pages.

Well done, Assetize.  Well done indeed.

Our own @Zee caught wind of’s response to Twitter, and wrote a post about it just an hour or so before this one.  This prompted me to take a closer look at what is doing, and to find out how it will work. isn’t changing a thing, I’ve found.  The company is quite confident that business as usual will fall within the guidelines that Twitter has created.  The company released a statement of its own, saying this:

We look forward to continuing to create long term value for our advertisers and publishers, both of whom are key constituents in
the stream ecosystem

It will remain to be seen how Twitter translates its own advertising guidelines, and certainly seems to be skirting a dangerous edge.  But for now, the company is providing a quality product with a focused spread.


Firmly in the middle of the road, there is a fresh new face called TweetUp.  Though Twitter expressly forbids you to advertise in its own stream, the company has no issue with having advertising appear along side Twitter content.

TweetUp has space on a number of different Twitter search portals, including and Seesmic.  A TweetUp customer can bid on a keyword and have their tweet appear as if it were in the stream, but it is given preferred positioning.  This pulls at the heartstrings of the developers who have made a life off of Twitter’s API over the past few years.

RiotWise from OneRiot

When you talk about companies that truly understand real-time media, OneRiot has to be in your list.  The company’s advertising arm, dubbed RiotWise, is delivering over 1 billion ads per month across various platforms and Twitter is firmly in that list.

By placing advertising within clients and pages, RiotWise avoids plays by a similar rule to Assetize.  But RiotWise manages to stay fresh by working directly with application developers to implement RiotWise into the app itself.

The most impressive part about RiotWise?  That the company knows that it doesn’t know everything yet.

Some really good things we’ve learned:

  1. Users are open to ads as long as they’re relevant to their realtime experience.
  2. Advertisers really want to create ads that are relevant to the realtime experience.
  3. Realtime applications are starting to make serious money through advertising!

The rules might have changed, but for those who are flexible and creative, there’s still a wealth of advertising to be done in and around Twitter.  For those of us who welcome the lack of spam in the timeline, companies like Assetize and TweetUp are a breath of fresh air.  For the more traditional, and RiotWise seem determined to not move anywhere but up.

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