140 Proof Distills Ad Network For Twitter

We’ve all been anxiously awaiting how Twitter will turn on advertising in its microblogging platform. We know Twitter is going to be incorporating advertising of its own this year and is currently in talks with advertisers, but we don’t know what this will look like yet. In the meantime, other startups have emerged with advertising models for Twitter, including Ad.ly, Assetize, SponsoredTweets, and Magpie. And last November, Robert Scoble presented us with a compelling model for advertising on Twitter, called a Super Tweet.

Now, startup 140 Proof is entering the mix with its Twitter-based ad network. The network bypasses Twitter’s site completely and allows 3rd-party Twitter clients sell space on the network to advertisers. The ads appear in third-party Twitter clients who use 140 Proof’s API to serve and measure their ads. Ads are served within users Twitter streams on these clients (mobile, desktop or web) and clearly marked as ads.

And 140 Proof promises targeted advertising. Twitter clients passes 140 Proof a user ID list (with no names) and the public information contained in a Twitter users profile, and on the advertiser side, advertisers bid on ads to be directed toward users based on keywords in tweets, followers, as well as device, location and platform. 140 Proof’s algorithms calculates Twitterer’s “persona” based on public tweets and who they follow and serves ads to users based on this data. So if many of my Tweets have the term “red wine” in them, 140 Proof would characterize me as an ideal target for a wine manufacturer.

Similar to traditional ad networks, advertisers pay per click, plus retweets and direct replies are considered a free bonus. Advertisers can create their own ad tweets through a self-service interface, define a specific Twitter persona to target, and then measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns through clicks, retweets and @ replies. 140 Proof has already signed on a number of smaller developers and recently brought on a major Twitter client developers but declined to name the startup. And the network has over 40 advertisers on its platform and continues to add businesses both big and small daily.

Backed by a $2 million investment from BlueRun Ventures and Founders Fund, 140 Proof may help many Twitter-client developers monetize their apps via advertising. Monetization is a perplexing issue when it comes to Twitter, so this network could provide a way to for both advertisers and developers to use the stream to actually make money. OneRiot is doing something similar with its realtime ad network RiotWise, and is seeing promising results during its private beta. And Seesmic appears to be working on a stealth application involving brand advertising, called Look, which will be unveiled tomorrow.

The startup is offering $100 in free Twitter advertising to the first 50 TechCrunch readers who sign up here.