ChurpChurp: Nuffnang’s new Twitter offering

I’ve written about Nuffnang in the past, but today, I will focus on their new service ChurpChurp. This is Nuffnang’s latest foray into the advertising space – they’re into Twitter advertising. All Singapore and Malaysian Twitter users, this is something you should read about and understand.

This isn’t new

Twitter advertising has been around for about a year, with the first service that launched, being Magpie. This is similar to what ChurpChurp is – it identifies campaigns, matches them, and will then automatically tweet them for you (visually, how it works).

Magpie allows you to pre-approve all magpie-tweets before it goes out there an automatically posts them. Its not clear if this is just an option or something that happens all the time – auto-posting at random seems more interesting eh?

Magpie has a tweet average – once every ten tweets – by default. You can change the ratio (to once every 200 tweets too, it seems). Magpie supports disclosure, via a customised disclaimer, so you can have a hashtag to say it is sponsored. You can read this and more in their FAQ.

Disclosure is encouraged even via IZEA (the people that mass marketed sponsored conversations). They also have Sponsored Tweets, a yet to be launched service.

And in quick Googling, I also found RevTwt.

ChurpChurp

Register Twitter « ChurpChurp A quick view of ChurpChurp, without signing up (the last thing I want is my followers to be spammed). The registration page is most interesting, considering they use your age, race and religion potentially, for targeting purposes. They quite blatantly state: “Although optional, depending on the country you are in, we may use race and/or religion to target sponsored posts.”.

Register Twitter « ChurpChurp But Nuffnang has always shone because they err on the side of fun – they associate themselves with alcohol and possibly tobacco (I can’t remember a recent tobacco related campaign) related companies, and its no different on ChurpChurp. Imagine following funny-man Kenny Sia, and he tweets something like:

Just had a smoke. The menthol feels so good, you should definitely give it a try http://www.ciggies.com.my/ #churp2

But that’s a matter for another day. Alcohol related advertisements are rife in the Malaysian blogosphere, and I can almost guarantee that all readers aren’t of the legal drinking age.

How does ChurpChurp work? Two ways: automated insertions, or via customised insertions with just the appropriate keyword and link. The automated insertions might be easy to figure out, but the customised insertions with just a keyword, and potentially a different shortened URL (for tracking purposes, quite naturally)? Without disclosure, this could potentially be great for advertisers, and in fact, unsuspecting Twitter users will fall prey to ads too. I should make mention that ChurpChurp does support disclosure.

ChurpChurp has an FAQ for Twitterer’s as well as one for advertisers. There’s an interesting list of items that ChurpChurp will not advertise for.

ChurpChurp has defaults – up to 10 ads per week – but this can be customised. You can cash out after earning RM100/SGD100, and I wonder if the rates for the “chosen ones” go up higher enabling them to cash out faster? Or are “chosen ones” really chosen based on Twitter follower count? Remember, if chosen ones are based on follower count, it changes quite rapidly, as and when Twitter decides to clean out spam accounts.

Does this work?

Magpie has been around for a while and seems to not be going anywhere. In fact, I even follow one Magpie advertiser, @WoNoJo. He tells me that he’s just experimenting with Magpie, and I find his other tweets have more value, so I still listen to what he has to say.

That may seem like a blatant “OK” to this ChurpChurp idea, but it isn’t. Remember, you are enabling Churpers, and you can stop by just unfollowing them.

Duncan Riley over at The Inquisitr, has published a telling piece on how he used Magpie and what he thinks about it in: In-Stream Twitter Advertising: Does It Work?. All potential ChurpChurp advertisers should be reading this.

I’m following someone who’s Churp-polluting my stream. What can I do?

If you value his/her tweets, tell them via an @reply that you do not like it. Direct message them if they follow you.

Alternatively, you can always unfollow them.

However, if you feel strongly about this, feel free to drop a direct message to the @spam account on Twitter. Gareth tells me in a comment that its best to direct message the @spam account on Twitter, so as not to mistake your account as a spam account too.

I’m thinking of joining ChurpChurp, should I?

Well, quite simply, you should not. But the promise of earning money is there, right? Just ask yourself: do you want to alienate your followers?

Also, please look at Twitter’s terms of service – #8 states You must not create or submit unwanted email to any Twitter members (“Spam”)..

Anything else?

I invite you to share your comments about ChurpChurp in the comments section. On Twitter, it seemed like most people weren’t too thrilled with Nuffnang polluting the Twitterverse, but it was only a matter of time after they had polluted the blogosphere.

Update: Thanks to Gareth for telling me in comment #1 that its best to direct message and not @reply the spam account on Twitter.

  • BTW you should never public reply @spam with a spammers username, because it will associate you with the spammer in the system. ALWAYS use DM.

    • Thanks. I also updated the post to ensure no one gets confused with regards to @spam

  • Carolyn Chan

    I wonder how much wonojo has made.

  • A very interesting piece here. Definitely made me open my eyes a little bit more.

  • I’m not joining this myself because I just personally am against the idea. However, that’s just me and I could just be annoyingly anal about it. Blog ads are very easily avoided, as are ads in magazines and the newspapers. Advertisement in tweets, however, will appear on my timeline all the time, and I do read my whole timeline rather religiously at least a few times a day. There’s also a reason I don’t follow so many people – I like limiting what I read. If you’re going to continuously post advertisements I have no intention of reading, my reasoning is that why shouldn’t I unfollow you to make room for someone more interesting?

    BTW out of curiosity, how would my Twitter account be affected if I churp? Twitter already has a strong anti-spam policy where they actively delete accounts. Would I be at risk here if I allowed unlimited churps?

    • Hi Mellissa,
      (thats two l’s right?)

      Blog ads are easily avoided, even with plugins like AdBlock on Firefox. Advertisements in your tweets, are just like ads in your Facebook statuses.

      I can’t answer on behalf of Twitter, but it seems like if your account is reported to @spam, your account could get disabled. You probably will get more unfollows than normal, but who knows?

      Twitter has a strict anti-spam policy. A Churp sounds like spam. All it takes is some folk to report it, before you suddenly realise you might have to appeal an account suspension.

      Magpie-Twitter accounts are still around. But maybe there have been closures. I’ll ask Twitter, and see if I get a response in due time

      -c

    • In the meantime, reading:
      http://help.twitter.com/forums/26257/entries/18311
      (under spam)

      # If your updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates;
      # If a large number of people are blocking you;
      # The number of spam complaints that have been filed against you;

      I think unless you have a lot of people reporting that you are a spammer, you should be fine. But don’t be surprised that there is an angry Twitterverse who don’t want to see ChurpChurp ads…

  • i actually also liked wonojo’s tweets, but unfollowed him some time back for exactly the mentioned reason!

  • KY

    a very nicely written article, I think the model is certainly still very premature and open to alot of abuse. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.

  • NaS

    hey, you’re not even following me Colin! ;)

    Carolyn, magpie pays allright, and the fastest I’ve seen! I mean, the paypal cashout is instantaneous (automated, it seems, unlike some advertising networks that take weeks/month to mail you your cash)… so, that’s good to know, at least.

    Not being connected on twitter is not the end of the world. You can’t have every single soul liking you. If it’s not for the ads, people might unfollow you anyway for various other reasons. And for me, if a friend tries to sell you something, you don’t just just cut off all communications with him/her. You just ignore that specific piece of “information” and carry on with other conversations… There are even filter tools on tweetdeck etc. Or, you can have groups to filter out noises at times.

    There are always other means of communications like fb, email etc., or, via another accounts, perhaps… Some people even have different accounts on facebook, friendster etc., one for everyone, another for really close friends/acquaintance.

    To not see ads at all, perhaps, one should just turn all electronic media means off – TV, radio or computer. They even have ads subliminally embedded in movies you pay to see nowadays… C’mon, we even ‘follow’ blogs with Adsense and all kind of other ads plastered all over…

    Twitter is a jungle. It’s not an adventure if it’s all safe and exactly as you want. We learn not from everything positives, but from the negative ones too. Yes, even from ads (they even have “best ads” etc. podcasts). Otherwise, there are other options – like private twitter-like networks, intranet versions or private group chats/social networking platforms.

    ok, better stop before I write longer than Colin… :)

    • Hey NaS,

      I erm, do follow you on Twitter. I’m @bytebot. Your tweets appear in my timeline, always.

      So, will you be giving ChurpChurp a try?

      -c

  • while i dislike the idea, i will be giving it a try. I’m not bothered on the monetization part but surely i’d want to experience using it, in order to judge it better.

    Now what i’m curious is how will RTs be handled.

  • My thoughts here:
    http://www.davidlian.com/2009/07/can-you-purchase-conversation.html

    And they aren’t very pretty.

  • i agree that this is not cool and support your straight-up warning against joining ChurpChurp. unless they innovate and introduce something that allows me to opt out of these commercial tweets i will be using the ‘Block and Report Spam’ feature on Tweetdeck often.

  • Well, I signed up recently to “busybody” and see what’s the actual ROI for a participant in this.

    But yes, if followers started to complain personally, there are few options:
    1. Decrease ads.
    2. Stop it.

  • NaS : Made enough to buy a macbook yet? lol.

    I can deal with NaS’ magpie ads. Like he says and this is not in his defence, you just have to learn to tune it out. Tweets don’t have to be ads to irritate you. Some conversations are so inane I’d gladly welcome ads.

    But two kinds of ads really get me worked – I DON’T WANT ANYMORE TEETH WHITENING SECRETS OR MORE FOLLOWERS. Get the F**K OUT OF MY STREAM!!

  • Hey Colin,

    Not sure if you’re interested but from what I tried, I have so far 1 ad tweet and was paid RM 1.52.

    Too soon to judge anything from it, but for those $$$ hungry – I think they must be thinking this is a goldmine already. :P

  • i joined both program.. recently joined magpie.. got sum money from churpchurp, based on number of followers


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