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Twitter cofounder Biz Stone has announced on the Twitter blog that the microblogging service will begin tweeting advertising.

“We are launching the first phase of our Promoted Tweets platform with a handful of innovative advertising partners that include Best Buy, Bravo, Red Bull, Sony Pictures, Starbucks, and Virgin America — with more to come. Promoted Tweets are ordinary Tweets that businesses and organizations want to highlight to a wider group of users,” he wrote.

Twitter is going to need a source of income to survive, and it certainly comes as no surprise that the organization is moving into something that will “monetize” its traffic and its popularity.

We’re wondering how long it will be before the online pharmacies, botnet operators and rogue security product pushers decide to mimic Twitter’s ads for their own nefarious purposes. Like the search engine optimization techniques that have taken advantage of the big search services, there will be attempts to use the promoted tweets. And there will be countermeasures by Twitter and the rest of us in the anti-malcode world.

So when this starts, use common sense and keep alert for tricky new malicious techniques that will fit into 140 characters. Since Twitter mentioned Best Buy, Bravo, etc. in the blog, those names probably will be some of the first ones (mis)used in mal-tweets. We would expect tweets with links (probably shortened) that lead or redirect to sites selling questionable wares or downloading Trojans or other malware.

Twitter blog here.


News stories are appearing about Twitter’s move to tweet ads. One statistic that stands out is “$160 million.” That’s the amount of venture capital that Twitter has taken in the last three years.

ZDNet story here.

Tom Kelchner