Magpie, the first service to offer in-stream ads on Twitter, is up for sale

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Two years later and Magpie, the first service to offer in-stream advertising on Twitter, is being put up for sale.

It claims to be Europe’s number one Twitter advertising network with a combined reach of almost 20 million followers and has around 5,000 registered advertisers. Major brands who have used Magpie include the likes of Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, Burger King, Honda, Heineken and many more. So why do its founders want out?

It’s tempting to think that the business model simply didn’t work out. For many, in-stream ads is sailing pretty close to spam. But that isn’t the case, says Magpie co-founder and CEO Jan Schulz-Hofen. “If it didn’t work we’d just shut it down.”

Instead, Schulz-Hofen insists that it’s a case of not wanting to operate a grown up business. He says “it’s not what drives us, so we’d like to move on.” Or more specifically, the founders of Magpie never wanted to run a traditional ad-sales company and hoped that the startup could operate largely on a self-serve ad basis. This obviously didn’t happen.

“We’ve grown tired of being an advertising agency. All we wanted to do is create something great on top of Twitter’s API platform and build an advertising network that could run in self-service mode. When we ‘invented’ in-stream advertising in 2008, we had been naive enough to neglect the fact that we’d have to wrap our heads around pitching to agencies, setting up campaigns, defining media strategies, and distributing advertising budgets.”

So in that sense, it didn’t work out.

Since then of course, many other Twitter-related ad products have launched, including an official Twitter offering: Promoted Tweets.

However, for anybody interested in purchasing Magpie, there’s an official blog post explaining exactly what’s up for sale and more details on why its founders are walking away.

  • http://twitter.com/me_arno jick

    So what are they making? I’d like to know before making an offer ;-)

    • pleisahs

      Certainly, BeAMagpie, Revtwt and other Ad platform on Twitter smells the ‘greed’ within The official Twitter itself, That’s why it is trying to create their own official start-up as well.

      Can’t blame twitter here, they’re doing this so they can make their platform grow and not hit a saturation. Review. http://bit.ly/aMm7yn

      Tweetmeme getting pawned yesterday is just a sample.

      Do you really believe the developers of tweetmeme were happy that Twitter is now the ‘de-facto’ for retweeting the tweets? Hell, No!

  • http://labnium.org Digital Imagination

    that’s not a good news……

  • http://www.indianaonlineinsurance.com Indiana

    Perhaps they have something better lined up on the horizon and thats why they are dumping magpie

  • http://www.cdnpal.com Christopher

    Why not just have a series A round, hire and set the thing on auto-pilot with the employees and a couple managers?

    Something is very wrong in fund raising land for this company.

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  • http://www.cheshirephotocopiers.co.uk Cheshire Photocopiers

    Very exciting developments. Thanks for sharing.

  • francis Idada

    Interesting article, though it is hard to justify them putting their creation up for sale. Their excuse for selling is pretty weak but highlights some basic misconceptions made early on. The assumption that self-serve is the same as auto-run is very misleading, no company succeeds in auto-run mode in any sector. If the urge to focus sole on computer engineering and not on the business of running on a company is their aim, then it would be better to look for regular jobs.

    I also just went through the start-up coverage on tech crunch and noticed the negative comments. It highlighted the delusion in the tech world, they did not want ads in their tweets but condoned them on websites. In any event, it is satisfying to see the company succeed despite the bad sentiments. That is just a note of caution to would be internet startups, in the real world people might not care as much about these self described technology blogs.

    Lastly, I would just make a note that there is a lot of value in social media companies that is being locked away because of misperception and lack of business savvy. Technology serves business, business does not serve technology. Magpie has not have any unique technology and so selling it to a media firm would be hard, instead it should build its social brand and continue making money.

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  • http://www.trampolineforsale.info trampolines for sale

    Ads are spam! Period!

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