It was bound to happen, right? If an airline can charge flyers to use the bathroom, for a blanket or for the honor of boarding early with the first class passengers, then Twitter was going to discover a way to create and charge for “promoted tweets.”

How do they work? It’s like this; “promoted tweets” appear at the top of search results from the site. Anybody wishing to advertise sets their budget, makes a decision on which tweets to promote and then makes the purchase. Twitter is limiting these ads to one “promoted” or sponsored tweet per page. Well, limiting them for now. As with many other things in life, that will probably change.

Why are businesses being cautious about this new model? First and foremost, the metrics aren’t developed and the model is untested. Why pay for a link when its value hasn’t been proven? Furthermore, the auto-posting bots and other third-party applications are posting so much in lieu of people that who knows who’s really seeing live tweets anymore?

On the flipside, Twitter has over 50 million tweets served daily and these sponsored tweets will be around as long as folks retweet it. It’s like “The Ring,” only these actually will die. But no solid online marketing campaign is without its risks or learning curve. There is potential here and you can always develop your own metrics of success by measuring your Twitter results up against your other online efforts.

Where things get a bit stickier, though, is if and when Twitter starts placing paid tweets in regular tweet streams. They’re thinking about it. Euro for the bathroom, anyone?

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