Twitter: Big in Japan (with ads)
Some interesting news from Twitter tonight. Because they found that they had a lot of users in Japan, they launched a Japanese version that includes advertising. If you are not in Japan, the URL will redirect you to the regular English version, so here is a screen-shot courtesy of the Twitter blog:
The really interesting part here though is that this version will feature advertising:
The partnership agreement we have with Digital Garage also includes some commercial experimentation in the Japanese market through it’s subsidiary, CGM Marketing, Inc. At launch, visitors to Twitter.jp will see media from two clients. One is a new book about Twitter being released in Japan, another is an automotive news service built on Twitter and sponsored by Toyota.
CNet reports that the first ads will be from Toyota and that part of the reason why they moved into the Japanese market is that Twitter sees more tweets coming out of Tokyo (above 28.000) than New York and San Francisco combined.
I guess part of the decision to go with ads (or ‘commercial experimentation’) is that it is also simply easier to start a service up with ads already in place. Convincing your users about their necessity later on can be a hard sell.