What will Twitter changes mean for Internet Marketers?

An email is going out to all Twitter users about changes that are taking place. Nothing new about that – I just updated an iPhone app and had to first say I had read and understood 55 new pages of iTunes terms. Yeh – right. But THESE Twitter changes may reduce the control of sophisticated Internet Marketers – especially those using url shorteners of their own or anyone else’s. Here’s what Twitter are saying:

“When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.

“You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.

Why is it that whenever someone does something clearly in their own interests, they pretend it’s something about “security” or “Transparency”? This clearly is neither. By forcing the links through their own URL shortener, I put it to you that far from REMOVING the threat of malware, they infact ARE Malware, because they have now created a link which – at any time in the ftrure – they can amend and tamper with. Surely that’s pretty much the definition of malware? Anyway – that’s not the point for Internet Marketers. The point is that I already noticed previously that Twitter gave preferential treatment in its own search algorithm to Bit.ly over other URL shorteners. Now they are taking it one step further, by entirely owning the URL.

This could even lead to a new financial model for Twitter. Status Updates using the t.co link may or may not stay around for long… now much do you want to pay to keep the link? How much to have it 301? as a Nofollow? Do you want to pay per click? Do you want to count the clicks by country, by day parting, by user?

Now I can absolutely see why Twitter would do this. It makes sense. The URL is as short as it can be, it improves branding (a bit) and it gives Twitter more CONTROL. Just don’t pretend, Twitter, that it’s all about the user. That’s rubbish.

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4 Comments

  1. Nice analysis, Dixon.  Thanks.  David

  2. Very interesting and I think you are 100% right that the malware thing is total garbage and they are insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that’s the reason for doing this.

    I think it’s also about leveraging away control from Google. If they can make google’s real time search less effective by obfuscating links added to the site then they’re onto a winner. They want people to go onto Twitter to search Twitter. And this does give them massively more power to achieve that, power to do whatever unscrupulous things they wanted to with the backlinks.

    It’s also a bit like a bait and switch – if Twitter worked like this in the past, would it have become so popular or well used?

  3. It’s always the way I guess. I’m just surprised it’s taken Twitter so long to start muscling out all of these third party services.

  4. Great post – thanks for breaking this down. I was a little confused by this email from Twitter but your post definitely illuminated the important aspects of the changes! :)

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