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Hootsuite Can Pay Me $5.99 A Month To Stop Reading This

Hootsuite Can Pay Me $5.99 A Month To Stop Reading This

Yesterday I noticed something different in my Twitter stream using Hootsuite. I was seeing promoted ads. The first one I saw was for some mayonnaise, which kinda made sense because everyone knows I love a good BLT sandwich, but it was certainly not a welcome tweet. I was only slightly annoyed because, hey, Twitter spam is everywhere.

But only a short time later I saw another ad, and now I was more than slightly annoyed. And when I went to click on the user name to report and block them for spam, I found that Hootsuite didn’t show me the ‘Report Spammer’ link like they would for any other user account. If I wanted to block this account I needed to go to Twitter and do so. And while there I happened to notice a most peculiar thing:

The promoted ad wasn’t there.

So, while Hootsuite shows me a promoted ad, the Twitter web page doesn’t? Wait a minute, what is going on here?

It turns out that Hootsuite has partnered with an agency called 140Proof, who specializes in injecting targeted ads into my stream. And I’m not the only one who has noticed the ads appearing. Thanks to my friend Karen Lopez (blog | @datachick) leaving a comment in one of my rants on Google+ yesterday I was able to root around the intertubz to get more details. It would seem that Hootsuite has expanded their targeted ads from just their mobile client apps.

I have now hit my tipping point. I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore.

I am tired of being nickeled and dimed everywhere I go. Everyone wants me to give them a dollar or two and in exchange I get the privilege of seeing no ads. Even Hootsuite wanted me to know that I could have those ads turned off by using their Pro plan.

At the time I found that to be mildly offensive. I likened it to extortion, because that’s what extortion is: obtaining money or something of value as a result of abusing one’s power or authority. It’s no different than if some gangsters stopped by my house to collect some protection money. But it gets better, check out how Hootsuite tried to tell me that this wasn’t them (or 140Proof doing it for them), and that it was Twitter doing it.

That link they provided? It is Twitter explaining what promoted Tweets are. I went one step further and contacted Twitter (because Hootsuite suggested I do so) to help explain what happened in my Hootsuite stream. I know you may find this hard to believe, but the list of advertisers at this time doesn’t include mayonnaise. It is a short list, and condiments aren’t there yet, apparently. And that link tells me there are only four ways for me to even see an ad in my main Twitter stream, again confirmed by Twitter (whom I contacted because Hootsuite suggested I do so):

  1. I do a search.
  2. I follow the advertiser account.
  3. I see the promoted ad as a related tweet.
  4. I do a search for a promoted trend.

The ads I saw yesterday did not fall into one of those four. As much as I love me some bacon, I was not following @MiracleWhip on Twitter. Seriously, would anyone out there think I would even let that crap touch one of my BLT sandwiches? Unthinkable.

So, Hootsuite is injecting ads into my stream through their site, which is completely their right to do so. I will not argue that. But they are doing so in an effort to get me to pay. That’s extortion in my book. I won’t be paying Hootsuite anything, I will just stop using them.

And when the day comes (and I am sure it will) where Twitter itself heads down the path that Hootsuite has tried, then I will stop using them as well. I hear Google has something cool these days, I may just start hanging out there more often anyway.

Enjoy the shark you just jumped, Hootsuite.

[But for $5.99 a month I will take down this blog post so you don’t have to read it ever again and we can still be friends.]

One Pingback/Trackback

  • Interesting that they said that the Pro PLan gives you the ability to turn the ads off. So if you already had the plan, they would have still shown you the ads until you discovered that you could go turn them off?

    It’s kind of like those companies that decide to start selling your personal data until you go in and use the new opt out feature.

    • Thomas LaRock


      Why yes, that *IS* interesting to note about Hootsuite and their business practices.

  • I have the pro plan and still get promoted tweets–hadn’t realized there was an option to turn them off. Gosh, between the ‘flix and hootsuite, you’ve had a real stand-up-to-the-man couple of weeks!

    • Thomas LaRock


      Perhaps you missed this part…but…I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!

  • Adam Haworth

    Thanks for this. I’m seriously considering ditching Hootsuite. Shall post this link on my Twitter, and maybe even re-postit (with accreditation of course) on my personal blog – if that’s ok with you.

    I’ll let them know I’m not happy about it.

    • Thomas LaRock


      Feel free to share with anyone you wish, thanks!

  • Debora

    How is it extortion when you are completely free to stop using their service.
    To me it’s more like going to your local bakers and them telling you you can take some old, molded bread for free of pay a few bucks and get a fresh, delicous loaf. Don’t like molded break? (I sure don’t) Pay or find another bakery.

    • Thomas LaRock


      You are also free to refuse to pay the protection money, aren’t you?

      The definition of extortion I used is found here:

      And yes, I *am* free to stop using Hootsuite, which I have already done. I wanted to let others be aware that the ads they are seeing from Hootsuite are NOT coming from Twitter, they are coming from 140Proof, who has been given your account details by Hootsuite for the purpose of advertising. There is such a thing as “informed consent”, and I am not convinced Hootsuite has followed that here. Many people didn’t know these ads were NOT coming from Twitter, and many Pro users of Hootsuite didn’t even know there was an option to turn it off.

      It is all disingenuous, at best, and it is why I will not be using Hootsuite going forward.

      • pontifexa

        Did HootSuite come round your house after you declined to pay them? Did anyone in your family suffer mysterious accidents? Did this blog burn to the ground, with you sleeping upstairs? If not, it’s not the same as refusing to pay protection money.

        (two years late and still annoyed)

        • ThomasLaRock

          Sorry, it’s been two years and you are still annoyed that I don’t use Hootsuite? Or are you annoyed with the definition of extortion and how I applied it here to Hootsuite?

          No, I did not suffer from a series of unfortunate accidents. So perhaps the use of “protection money” is really not the right context here.

          But being told that I need to pay money to stop seeing ads because Twitter is injecting them into my stream? That’s lying, pure and simple.

          And I don’t need to use Hootsuite. And neither does anyone else.

          • pontifexa

            My annoyance is with the casual attitude towards extortion and protection money. I don’t give a rat’s about Hootsuite, and I completely agree with your points about their low-life handling of the matter. Just not your choice of metaphors.

  • Joe Fleming

    I got HootSuite a while back after some wierd firewall rules at work stopped TweetDeck and even from working. During the signup process, I was made fully aware that targeted ads would be presented to me in the twitter stream. Would I prefer they weren’t….yeah, but I’ve known since signing up what the terms were, and I accepted them so I could continue to use the awesomeness of twitter at work (wholly in support of my daily duties, for sure).

    • Thomas LaRock


      Its good to know that Hootsuite made you aware of this during the signup process. Other comments left on this blog post would indicate they may have not effectively communicated with other users of their service.

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  • Good info, Tom. I’d thought about using Hootsuite and now know to stay away. 

    • Anonymous

      No problem Kevin, I’m always happy to let people know about Hootsuite and their practice of injecting ads into your Twitter stream.

  • Addie Nonki

    I quit using hootsuite because of the ads. I’m using tweetdeck now and i’m happy with it. 

    any other apps available?

  • For real, frustration with Hootsuite put me off twitter altogether for a while. Now trying again with Tweetdeck, as I decided I don’t care about integrating accounts other than twitter.

  • I ended up to do manual posting instead of having Hootsuite injects ads all over my Twitter and Google+ posts. 

  • Love the tone, I get labelled as a grumpy old git for worrying about where all this is headed.
    Let us know if the google adventure pays off.