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Twitter VIPs score ad-free service

Tue 26 Jan 2016

Twitter VIP

Influential Twitter members have been treated to an ad-free, or almost ad-free, service over the past few months. According to reports, the microblogging platform started trialling the ‘VIP’ user experience last September, in a bid to keep popular accounts tweeting.

Being a popular public figure is not enough to be marked as a top user – Twitter reportedly chooses people based on their tweet count and on how many people an average tweet reaches.

Twitter largely monetises its social network through promoted tweets, which for common folk are displayed in line with other tweets from followed accounts. However, some clients have argued that despite heavy investment in Twitter, they have failed to see as positive a response as they do from Facebook and Snapchat campaigns. With this new elite ad-free experiment, it is unclear how the microblogging site will turn marketers round to the idea of investing without the promise of attracting valuable users to their content.

Concerns over revenue and user growth have also mounted with 2015 reports noting the slowest user take-up since the website went public in 2013. On top of growth concerns, the company is also battling through a top-tier management reshuffle, led by co-founder Jack Dorsey who took up the role of CEO again following the departure of Dick Costolo last year. Reports this week claimed that four senior executives had left the company over the weekend, including SVP of engineering Alex Roetter and SVP of product Kevin Weil.

Last year, Twitter also dealt with serious issues relating to how it manages diversity. Following the departure of Leslie Miley, the company’s only lead role black engineer, there were “no longer any managers, directors, or VP’s of colour in engineering or product management.” In an official report, it was disclosed that just 1% of Twitter’s U.S. labour identified as African-American. It was also revealed that women only represented 30% of its global workforce.

A further management change was brought about in response to this, with the introduction of Jeffrey Siminoff as VP of Diversity and Inclusion in December 2015 (former Apple director of worldwide inclusion and diversity).


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