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Twitter Turning Away Millions in Ads, COO Costello

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As it looks to ramp up its monetization efforts, Twitter is turning down millions of dollars from advertisers.

That’s according to Twitter COO Dick Costello, who during a keynote interview on Tuesday (Sept. 28) at the Mixx Conference in New York said that despite the fact that advertiser demand is heated, the company plans to move very cautiously into the arena as it place a heavy emphasis on user experience.

“There is a line out the door to advertise with us,” he said. But the challenge facing those brands is that “we are going to take our time with this....we have not interest in maximizing near term revenue. We could do that now. But that is antithetical to what we do.”

Costello, a former Google exec, said that once Twitter’s ad model became more established, he did expect its ad revenue to increase at a rate similar to Google’s and now Facebook’s exponential growth stages.

But unlike Google, which started with thousands of small advertisers purchasing keyword ads before courting big brands, Twitter is starting at the top. Costello said the company has run ad campaigns for about 40 top brands to date, and expects to execute on roughly 100 brands by the end of this year.

But in 2011, Twitter’s advertisers base should balloon, as it releases a self serve product--a strategy that saw both Google and Facebook’s ad bases soar.

Besides self serve, Twitter is experimenting with a number of ad tactics. Besides Promoted Tweets, its first stab at advertising, Costello on Tuesday shared details on a new ad product called Promoted Accounts. Through Promoted Accounts, Brands will now be able to play for placement within Twitter’s Who To Follow recommendation engine, as a means to build up a brand’s own following.

But Twitter will be careful with Promoted Tweets, as the company continues to experiment and tweak its nascent ad strategy, said Costello. For example, the company recently put the brakes on a product called Early Bird, which provided users with deals from retailers and other companies, because the user experience wasn’t always a good one, per Costello.

“We don’t think about monetization first,” he said. When it comes to user experience, Twitter has “a religious point of view.”