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Twitter's Promoted Tweets Returning; Follower Beware

Twitter isn't giving up on so-called promoted tweets as a way to draw in advertising revenue. But there are still ways for the savvy user to avoid them.

For years, Twitter has been pushing the purchase of contextual advertisements that appear in users' feeds, called promoted tweets. The problem was that they were all too easily ignored.

Then Twitter experimented with the Quickbar -- an intrusive way to push ads to the top of its iOS app display. Quickbar was quickly panned until it went away. But Twitter hasn't given up: Promoted tweets, as promised, will appear at the top of users' feeds by early August, according to AllThingsD.

The new iteration of promoted tweets, called "Promoted Tweets to Followers," isn't exactly like the old version. These paid tweets will now appear in Twitter timelines but won't stick to the top like gobs of off-brand peanut butter.

Also, these promoted tweets will only appear to people who are already following a brand, meaning if you're following Dunkin' Donuts and not Starbucks, you won't receive in-your-face ads from Starbucks.

The secret to avoiding advertisements clogging your Twitter timeline is to not follow companies. However, this tactic may not last for long.

AllThingsD reports that Twitter will build "a targeting system that allows marketers to find receptive audiences for their ads even if they don't search for certain terms or follow their brands."

That sounds kind of like Google's Gmail ads, which are also easy to ignore. But imagine those ads in Twitter, posing as updates from friends; that's where Twitter will start making real ad dollars -- and infuriating its fan base.

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