Twitter Starting “Pay by Tweet” Service

Sections: Lifestyle, Web 2.0 / Social Networking

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I admit, I was kind of tough on Twitter yesterday with my “lol-Tweet” article, so I’ll be a bit easier on them today.

Twitter and American Express just launched a “pay by tweet” function where certain hashtags can be used to trigger selected purchases with a synced American Express card.

One of the current promotions is a $25 American Express Gift Card which can be purchased starting today for only $15 by tweeting #BuyAmexGiftCard25. Not a bad deal.

Naturally neither Twitter nor Amex have revealed details of their financial arrangements, but I have to think that Twitter is getting something out of this, financially.

I find myself with mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, as a social media consultant, I applaud the effort to clearly tie sales to a social media channel. On the other, as a consumer, I’m not sure that a) I want my Twitter stream clogged up with these tweets and b) although there is a confirmation step, I have to wonder if consumers will end up buying by accident. Retweeting sales and promotions is common. Will people confuse these hashtags with sale hashtags and end up buying things by mistake?

Maybe I’m being overly cautious. I am curious to see how this develops. Right now it’s pretty limited since a user needs an Amex card that they are willing to sync with the service. Personally, I’ve hesitated to sync my cards to deals and promotions services, and I wonder how many other consumers are like me. I think we’ll only learn the true appeal (and potential dangers) of a service like this when more companies are able to directly sell via Twitter.

Anyone want to chime in? Am I being overly cautious or is this really a great idea?

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