Skip to content

Why I Magpie: Tech Talk Tuesday

Back in November of 2008 there was a new kid on the block. Magpie. Magpie is a start up out of Germany wherein advertisements are placed in a twitterers stream.

At first there was an “I hate Magpie” uproar. Magpie would take away from the authenticity of Twitter. There are still folks who say they will instantly unfollow anyone who uses Magpie. I guess I’ll lose them.


Can we face facts? Your beloved authenticity is a hoax. Most of the Social Media personalities are finely honed marketing instruments. If I go to one more tech party where I hear someone referring to their spouse as a brand, I think my head might spin off my shoulders. Publicists have bloggers and microbloggers singing their client’s praises all for a dinner out and a bottle of shampoo.

Years ago blog pursists were appalled when folks started adding Google Adsense to their blogspot pages. Today we all expect to see advertising widgets on the sidebar.

Glam Media used the Emmy Awards for sponsored tweets. There are twitter parties and hashtags and publicists roaming the Twitterverse. Why not an advertisement? At least it’s transparent.

I had some concerns about Magpie being a scam. I’d had a quick burst of advertisements from them, and then nothing for a while. I realize now that they’re new, and probably had some growing pains. In addition to all of that, I’m not the ideal person to advertise with.

I cuss
I point fingers
I start boycotts
I abhor WalMart and make a hobby of taunting the Eleven idiots Moms

But even with all that, Magpie still finds a few advertisers for a Mom like me. Why? Because the people who follow me appreciate a little cheekiness and can see past a curse word. I made a few dollars, and I didn’t do any extra work, five thousand people looked at an advertisement, that was most likely for a small company that we’d all appreciate anyhow. There are tons of etsy shops on Magpie, who doesn’t like chicks who knit?


Tell me, what’s wrong with that?

I’m going to go against all my initial instincts and wholeheartedly recommend Magpie both for advertisers and for publishers.

It’s like the perfect marriage, me and a friendly German Bird.


31 thoughts on “Why I Magpie: Tech Talk Tuesday”

  1. I really want to thank you for putting this so well.

    I was in an uproar about Magpie myself and was very vocal about it. I think I’ll apologize after vI write this.

    I guess the reason why I got so irritated was because right after I heard about it, I had one night where I saw new Twit after new Twit with nothing but Magpie and no other real tweets.

    People with almost no followers at all were about to (caught up in the “easy money” whirlwind) ruin any chance to ever have any valuable networks and “Look I’m Making Money In Twitter” their way into the Twitter spammer’s hearts.

    It made me feel sad.

    So sad that yes, I’ll admit, I did unfollow many a Magpie fan.

    Well, thanks for shedding a new light on the subject for me.


  2. Dear Jessica,

    thank you very much for your post. I’m happy that you like Magpie.

    As you say, we actually have a lot of small brands, shops, music labels, etc. on Magpie. A lot of them are independent from large corporations and do their own thing. Many tell us that they really like Magpie advertising because it’s affordable and targets their audience very nicely.

    We’ve also had quite a few Twitterers now, who are cashing out their EUR 50 on a regular basis, even @rizzn from Mashable is using it :)

    Please continue to give us your feedback. Also if you get comments from your followers, we’d love to hear them!

    Thanks again, kind regards,

    CEO Magpie & Friends Ltd.

  3. I never “sold out”. I sold up.

    I don’t want a free lunch. I want cash, so I can hang out with my kids and husband more.

    Make no mistake, this is work.

  4. For me being a WAHM who lives paycheck to paycheck like many folks, I find nothing wrong with using a network you’ve built on Twitter to make extra money. I’ve rolled my eyes at Magpie in the past, simply because I didn’t think it actually made any money. But if it does, and that’s how it appears after reading this post, then I’m all for it. If the few followers I lose would like to pay me $50 bucks to not do Magpie that’s ok too. But since I don’t think that’ll happen I’ll base my choice on what will benefit my ailing checkbook the most. I don’t think it lessens the relationship I’ve built with my followers at all, and if it does than maybe the relationship wasn’t that strong to begin with. Thanks Jessica for shedding some light on Magpie.

  5. Hi. I have no problem with ads or ad streams. I started out using free web services like GeoCities and etc. As a result, ads were always there. These services have to make money somehow. But I think ads have to evolve, an din some cases have already evolved, to be less intrusive to what you are doing on the screen. unfortunately is a special case because there is only one view of data/messages. You cannot push ads off to the side, display them so they don’t interfere with your messages from friends, or group them according to your interests.

    Magpie isn’t the problem. just needs to adjust its layout so it works for advertisers and consumers.

  6. Back when this first crazy anti-Magpie happened, I said it was ridiculous to be anti-Magpie for much the same reasons – blogs have ads. Most people who have a high follower ratio give value to their followers.. so why not make some money on ads.

    What killed me was ost of the anti-Magpie people sad they wouldn’t have minded if Twitter itself was putting in the ads (and getting the money) because it would go back to Twitter’s infrastructure. “But,” I said, “you wouldn’t want your friends making money? That makes little to no sense.”

    Maybe it’s because I don’t read every single Tweet as it is… and I loved that they are tagged #magpie. It’s completely authentic/transparent (which is what Social Media is all about).

    So yeah. Magpie away. And I’ll totally pick up anyone who loses followers because of it – just @Tabz me.

  7. Brilliance. Shear utter brilliance. I love how you word things and one day look forward to sitting down and laughing about some of this over a cup of cafe’.

    Magpie is doing what Twitter has not done in the states at least. Monetize the space for themselves and others. It’s a great idea. If people don’t like the tweets they’ll go elsewhere. If they don’t like the ads they don’t have to read them. They get choices.

    Too many people bitch about a mechanism that we’re all seemingly wasting time with but people are using for viable business needs and providing services along the way.

    Congrats on your earnings. I hope you triple that next month :)


  8. I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe anything until someone I know and trust recommends it. I am definitely going to join up now.

    Most of my followers know that I am disabled and low-income b/c of my illnesses. I can’t see them begrudging me the opportunity to earn whatever I can for my family.

    Thanks so much for doing the research for me!

  9. Interesting post. Just found out about Magpie over the past few days, so I missed some of the earlier hub-bub. I may give Magpie a try.

    Have you done any work with, which invites writers and bloggers to apply to be paid for contributing to their Twitter events stream service?

  10. Beautiful post! Giving your followers relative information is not spam. If you are a vegan blogger and you send a tweet about the new Angus burger at a steak house then you are spamming. If you send a tweet about a new veggie fast food place then you are adding value to your community. If the message ads value then it’s not spam. Why is it fine to watch Tiger Woods sell cars in a commercial but we question a Tweeter sending a much more targeted and relevant tweet to their followers? Making a profit is validation of your ability to add value to a community. I always respect someone that can feed her family.

  11. Your obviously going to erase this post, which will be noted.

    You plastic fake reptile marketing people are a cancer.
    You people are so short-sighted (stupid) it’s painful. Thank God this disease has been identified and will be cured soon. (as in gone)

    Please stay in Los Angeles where you belong.

  12. Jessica,

    I would have less of a problem with Magpie if it were 1) Actually transparent
    2) Not incenting people to lie.

    Re: transparency, most people will not know that “#magpie” = advertisement. So if Magpie (and the people who use it) want to be honest and transparent about what they’re doing, they’ll add the word “AD: ” before the advertisement.

    Re: lying… I think it’s pretty stunning that folks don’t have a problem with, well, out-and-out lying. e.g., “I bought this and loved it!” and so on. Would you be comfortable lying like that to a friend in person? If not, why is it okay doing online? Would YOU like being mislead (“This cough medicine worked GREAT for my kid!”)? Does it not strike you as problematic, perhaps even dangerous to lose any sense of honesty and authenticity in online communications?

    And your justifications along the lines of… “Other people are being obnoxious / sleazy / etc., so why I should worry about my own credibility / authenticity?” … well, I think that kind of speaks for itself.

    Justification, meet lowest-common-denominator.

    Lastly, suggesting that this is akin to banner ads and text ads in the margin of a blog and so on… I think that’s deeply disingenuous and utterly wrong.

  13. ‘who doesn’t like chicks who knit?’

    that, my friend, would be my jessica gottlieb fave quote of the week. you will forever keep me entertained.

    loving you!

  14. Frankly I am still new in internet marketing, and I just know Magpie from a blog. This is an idea that is extraordinary. and I hope we both mutually beneficial relationship between publishers and advertisers. I just join, and expect to have quite a lot of dollars ….. ha .. ha ….

  15. I’m was thinking of joining Magpie, and was looking around the net for pros and cons. I have to admit that you are have very interesting approach. If it’s not too much bother for you, please e-mail me several words from today’s perspective of using Magpie. Thanks a mill.

  16. Hi Siddharth, we have a lot of campaigns coming and going. Especially those run by small businesses may only run for a couple of days and then pause for some time. If you haven’t gotten any tweets lately, don’t worry. There’ll be more soon.

    If you like, you can get in touch with our support team via and we’ll try to help.

    (Disclosure: I work for Magpie)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *