Monetizing celebrity obsession on Twitter

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twitter_smallADOTAS – Kim Kardashian has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter for some reason. After hearing this name for more than a year, I still have no clue who she is, what she does and, most important, why I should care.

But I’m just a stuck-up Brooklynite who hits up dirty clubs to see loud rock music, drink cheap beer and look hip — I ain’t the norm. People seem to care about what happens in Kim’s life, what Kim is thinking, yada yada yada. So why shouldn’t she make some cash off her celebrity?

Enter Los Angeles-based ad agency Ad.ly, a purveyor of “in-stream advertising” that turns celebrities into publishers.

Ad.ly hooks up tweeters with big followings and advertisers like this: Kim tweets about such and such product, a link is offered to a campaign and Ad.ly adds its signature to the end — 2.5 million potential viewers.

You don’t have to be a celebrity — anybody can create a profile for Ad.ly. Relationships with advertisers are fomented through common interests and popularity on the site. The tweeter also gets the final say — he or she is allowed to refuse an ad.

“It’s an easy way to make money,” Kyle Hulcher, a publicist for Ad.ly, said to TheWrap. “It’s a natural fit for celebrities because the more people who read you the more money you can make — and they tend to have the most followers.”

From my perch, it seems fitting — if our celebrity-obsessed culture can’t be monetized, how American is it? For those of us who could care less about tabloid fodder, Twitter remains free of display and search ads.

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