Usually, stories around Twitter’s API are those of companies begging for access that have been shut down. This weekend, the exact opposite occurred. This odd case featured Followgen founder Myles Recny who released a blog post this weekend telling Twitter that they should shut down his company.
In the bold move, Recny posted 500 words on how he started Followgen, the success and his worry around the product, concluding that he should be shut down or given access to the Ads API. Unlike the traditional Ads model, Followgen harnesses “favorites” to draw attention and build a following. These followers aren’t fake, paid followers – rather, they are people who noticed the favorite and followed the user back. According to the site, Followgen campaigns see roughly 2.4% conversion rate on follows with the ability to acquire real followers for just 12-cents apiece.
The problem? This isn’t officially a Twitter Ad, and Twitter isn’t making money off of Followgen. Twitter ads come in a variety of flavors, but auto-purchasing favorites on specific key phrases isn’t one of them. Followgen is leveraging a gray area to sell their own “favoriting ads” that many would consider unethical or spam.
The statement from Recny is a risky but bold move that has garnered a good bit of publicity so far. The intent of the post is rather honest and definitely brazen. Today, Recny told VentureBeat that “Twitter reached out to me, as has the ad team at one of the other big social networks, and we’re trying to work something out.”