These days everyone has an opinion on the numerous paid or sponsored tweets services. Some people say if one advertisement comes through their stream they will immediately unfollow the user. Some say they really don’t care that much and feel people have the right to do with their Twitter stream as they please.

I am somewhere in the middle, I am certainly not going to unfollow a user for a sponsored tweet, however, it is likely a sponsored tweet could possibly change my perception of them. It would all depend on the nature of the tweet. I recall people sending out sponsored tweets for a back-to-school special. These tweets did not bother me any more than professional articles tweeted by nearly everyone this week on Black Friday specials for the Apple store. So for me it comes down to context.

This week however I came very close to sending out a sponsored tweet. I had signed up when the service first came out, and really forgotten about them because I put my rate so high that I never thought I would get an offer, although if I did receive one, it would be well worth my while to consider it. I carefully tagged my account with things I was interested in, most tags were in the entertainment industry or music related.

I received my first offer via a direct message this week and went to check it out. I was expecting to just hit the decline button, but I was shocked when I was presented with an offer that would have easily fit with what I tweet about regularly. Every aspect was right up my alley! It was a contest for musicians to win a recording contract and an all expense paid trip to New York City. The website was very professional, they even had Myspace, Twitter and Facebook accounts. It could not have been more perfect. Something that if I had found on my own would have been tweeted anyway. And to top it off, it was a 3 tweet deal, meaning I would receive 3 times my suggested rate.

HiResBut I did not stop there. I read the terms of service for the contest. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. In the fine print, the details were shocking. The contest winner would win a recording contract but it would be viewed as a work for hire. The winner would receive only the trip to New York and the studio time as their prize. The album and all songs would be the property of the record label that was running the contest. No royalties of any kind would be paid to the winner. I was shocked.

I took the time to email the company running the contest and ask them directly about what I had found, to which they never replied.

One tweet could have ruined my reputation. One tweet promoting a contest to my friends who trust me, could have destroyed that trust forever had I not taken the time to research what I was going to be promoting.

I will not go as far as to say that you should never entertain the notion of a sponsored or paid tweet. I will say that you better carefully research what you are going to be pushing, because you only have one reputation. Remember, you are what you tweet!

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