You know the retweet button you see on content spread throughout the web? You can thank TweetMeme for that. Long before Twitter’s new Retweet functionality existed, this button was the way to share on Twitter. And it still is for content not on twitter.com. But now it’s time for TweetMeme to think about making money. And they’ve come up with a way that people are either going to love or hate.
At our Realtime CrunchUp in San Francisco today, TweetMeme founder Nick Halstead has unveiled AdTweets. As you might expect, this involves ads that appear on your site — but with the addition of a retweet button. Yes, you can also retweet these ads just as you would any piece of content.
The idea seems like an obvious one for the company. It’s similar to what Digg is doing with its Digg ads, where users can vote on advertisements just as they would with regular content. The difference here is that you would be sending an ad to your contacts on Twitter. Is anyone really going to want to do that? And if they do, will their contacts start unfollowing them?
But the idea here is clearly not to share just any ad, but rather ads that have the potential to go viral — particularly video ads. And TweetMeme already has a big partner on board. They’ve just announced that they cut a deal with Federated Media in two weeks time. With this partnership, their button can be added into any standard advertisement that FM allows.
The tweeting out of ads or sponsored links has long been a controversial thing. Some are convinced this is a great way to make money, while others consider this absolutely pure spam. It’s an interesting play, to say the least. If TweetMeme is able to spread this idea the way they’ve spread their button, they’re going to make a ton of money.
AdTweets will launch in 2 weeks.