Why I’m Not a Fan of Tweet2Download

Have the days of encouraging mailing list signups come to an end with the new trend of Tweet2Download? I hope not, and this is why.

What is Tweet2Download?

Tweet2Download is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to giveaway content in exchange for a “simple” tweet.

Tweet2Download

When you click on the button, you will get the following:

Tweet2Download Actions

You can see why this is a great deal. Hopefully, your post will go viral if enough people tweet it and more people see the tweets from those they are following and become interested themselves. Plus, you can get some followers from the whole deal once you’ve authorized your Twitter account with the program.

Why I’m Not a Fan

Here’s the thing. I understand the benefits. But I am in the camp of not sharing things before I have reviewed them – hence why I turned off TwitterFeed, am late to the party when it comes to product reviews, and never use swipe files from affiliate programs.

So in this case, if I have to send a tweet to download something, I am going to have to share it with my network before I find out if it is really any good.

The one or two times I’ve tried it have been ok in the sense that the content I received for the tweet was worthwhile and something I would recommend to others. But I have been wary of doing it ever since, because you just never know. The last thing you want is for someone to follow your lead and be disappointed.

Sure, in my case since I have a ridiculous number of Twitter accounts for various purposes, I can use one of those to get my download without having to broadcast it to my main account. But then I have to logout, login, etc. and it’s a bit of a pain – I like things as fast and easy as possible so I can get more done throughout the day.

Alternatives

Believe it or not, I’d much rather sign up for a mailing list than do the tweet because I can always unsubscribe down the road, either immediately or after I have received some emails from the list. Although I can delete the tweet afterwards as well, there are still going to be people who see it before I get the chance.

Hence, I’d love to see it if people offered more alternatives to get their free content for those how are not comfortable sharing it to their followers before actually getting their hands on it. Maybe also offer it in exchange for a mailing list signup or subscription to RSS via email. A free giveaway is one of many great list building secrets.

Am I Alone in Feeling This Way?

Fortunately not! I sent a tweet a few days ago about the issue and got some immediate responses, further validating my feelings toward the subject.


@kikolani the reports of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani I’m with you.. and I may not want want to pollute my stream either!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani agreed -it sails too close to spamming for my liking – joining a mailing list is private, tweeting isn’t.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani That’s because you can unsubscribe from a list at any time, but a tweet means you’re vouching for the person or product.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani I’ve not seen that, but I’d be reluctant too. I might d/l stuff to see what it’s like, doesn’t mean I everyone to to know about itless than a minute ago via Twimbow Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani Not at all Kristi, I prefer a signup over a tweetless than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply


@kikolani Me too, I don’t like tweeting stuff to get stuff =/ Feels kind of disrespectful to followers.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply


We don’t download ANYTHING until we know the source @kikolani That may be why you aren’t into this “tweet to download phenomenon”.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Your Thoughts on Tweet2Download

Have you come across the new way to get “free” content, or have you used it yourself? What are your thoughts?





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Comments

  1. says

    Kristi,

    Honestly I have come across many of these requests to tweet and I have downloaded only one free worksheet with a Tweet, because I know the blogger very much and her talent. Otherwise I would never take the risk. It is like promoting a product or a person without putting the hands on my product in the first place. That is a great disrespect to the followers and I may lose followers if I happen to tweet some crap. I want to be safe and provide only value to my followers. I treat that as a commitment. Case closed.

    Cheers,
    Jane.
    Jane just posted Transition And Time Management- From The Office To Home

  2. says

    Hey Kristi, nice article!

    I get your point about vouching for a file/resource before you’ve actually seen the said file/resource and to a point agree with your view.

    However, it really depends on how the blogger decides to implement the Tweet2Download functionality, for example asking for a tweet like “OMG this is the BEST file I’ve ever downloaded in my life!!!11 *link*” would indeed be asking for quite the endorsement from your visitors, and would probably be way too much. But asking for a tweet like “Playing around with Tweet2Download *link*” is something different altogether: there’s no endorsement (hence no losing face for the one that tweets it) and it also spreads the word which is the point of using Tweet2Download.

    Disclaimer: I’m the Tweet2Download author :)

    • says

      Hi Razvan,

      Yes, it’s definitely in the way you use it. I have seen a few where the tweet is phrased something to the effect of “best ___ ever on ___” which is a bit hard for me to tweet because I really don’t know that before I’ve downloaded it. If it’s something like here’s a post on ___, then it’s not so bad.

      • says

        Glad you agree Kristi, it wasn’t obvious you did from my reading of the article.

        Also, I would have appreciated a link to the plugin page on the authors blog… this is somewhat related to one of the issues I was trying to solve with Tweet2Download. There are many who argue that they gladly share things they like, even in comments on this post… well that’s simply not true there are a lot of people who would happily use your work and give nothing back. To give you an example I’ve had people actually install and use my plugin (not just download) without any tweet/link/share … anything. Some are simply ignorant, some don’t want to share things so that others don’t get the same advantages as they do, etc.

        This brings me to the last point, I simply don’t buy into the whole “I should get stuff for free and if I like it I’ll share it with the world” argument. Sure there are cases in which I would be better advised not to ask for a tweet, cases in which even “paying” with a tweet would be way too expensive, but that’s not the point, if I want something in return for my work, I’ll ask for something in return for my work, it’s not for you, the beneficiary, to decide if you’ll give me something or not. I mean you don’t just walk into a supermarket expecting to get a free can of beans or whatever and pay for it if you like it. I guess the bottom line is this, the products/content you produce can be free/tweetware/linkware/payed/etc, if they’re sub-par, by all means give them away for free – you’re probably better off, but if they’re worth something – what’s wrong with getting your worth?

        DiTesco (comments below) has some great insights on how to give your users proper info on what to expect from your downloads before they tweet.

        • says

          Can I jump in here and give my two cents.

          Being one that has and will continue to use this great plugin, I think it all comes down to the way you market it – as you and Razvan have been agreeing on, but I think I can add more weight to the arguement, well at least attempt to validate why I chose to use it (choose)

          First off, when I utilise such a tool I make sure that the message is not something that is a hard sell, in fact I make sure it is something that is fun and encourages the share. The being said – I would never dare to implement it if I had not felt that I had done enough to validate myself as a blogger in the community.
          By that I mean – if you Kristi, for example were to use such a tool then I know (totally and unequivocally) that whatever it is you wanted me to tweet to download was going to be awesome. Why? Because you have proven your worth as a blogger and therefore earned that right.

          Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying its ok for some and not for others, I am just bringing to the table the point that quite often a blogger has rightly earned the reputation to demand his readers share before downloading.

          To go back to the list – if it’s ok to demand personal details of someone to get information that they obviously feel is valuable enough for them to divulge said details in the first place, then why is it different to ask that person to simply tweet a similar message of ‘approval’ ?
          Alex just posted How To Get Facebook To Help You Build Your Email List

  3. says

    You’re not alone Kikolani. I also have the same sentiments as yours. Sure thing for most followers– they get free stuff for one tweet.. But it doesn’t sound really great because it’s like spamming. I’d better opt for mailing list so I wouldn’t bother other people but the one who subscribed to the mailing list. That would be better than tweeting.
    Extreme John just posted How to Post Pictures to a Facebook Page from a Mobile Phone

    • says

      Definitely feeling better that I’m not alone on this one John. I always like to be on top of new technology, so it kind of hurt my technological pride being a bit put off by this one.

  4. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I have seen a number of these and they seem to me an act of desperation and begging. If it is good enough I would tweet it, but do not force me before I can even look at it. The problem is that those who are new can think it is a good idea and not realise it can harm their reputation. I think this is yet another example of people trying the new gadget without thinking through the implications for their business.
    Susan Oakes just posted Simplicity Is A Key For Marketing Success

  5. Tabrez Firoz says

    Hi Kristi,

    Your arguments from an user point of view are spot-on, I wouldn’t want my followers to point to something I am not sure of, but as an marketer who wants to ‘get the word out’ for his product in the social sphere, it somewhat doesn’t stand.

    May be an option of having both email / tweet for downloads will be a probable solution. It may be something like, If you don’t wanna tweet, fine, just enter your email and if your not happy, unsubscribe at your will.

    Sometimes, its better to get the best of both.

    #justmythoughts

  6. says

    Although I’ve never used tweet 2 download & never tried any thing other than that. I don’t use any other application as it slow down my net & also I don’t involve in all these activities. Me too used to have several accounts in twitter but I deleted all because I was finding hard to keep it up with all those twitter account.
    hyderali just posted 5 Things you need to learn in SEO

    • says

      Yeah, I have a lot of accounts on autopilot right now or completely dormant. Waiting on the time when they’ll coming in handy!

  7. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I just tried that a few days ago with “pay with a tweet” in exchange for content. I was thinking this was an interesting way to build a following on Twitter so thank you for giving me a different perspective.

    However, one thought does come up. If you know the person always produces quality content, I wouldn’t hesitate to tweet it and that’s how I felt when I paid with a tweet. I was happy to do so and it was well worth it.

    On the other hand, if I have never come across the person, I would also be hesitant. I guess it always comes know to the know, like, trust factor. It is not only relevant to buying something from them but also sharing their resources.

    Thanks,
    Diana
    Diana Simon just posted Alternatives To WP PopUp Plugin

    • says

      Hi Diana,

      That was the situation that got me to write this post. It was someone whose site I was new to, and didn’t yet know if I liked his blog, let along wanted to tweet about it. :)

  8. says

    From a reader perspective I agree, but it’s not sure every reader minds tweeting for a download. And if you offer great stuff, a tweet is a small price.. And in a way, if the downloaded is interested there is a chance the followers are too..
    bjorn just posted My 5 worst blog mistakes

    • says

      Many don’t mind Bjorn. But I’ve actually been called out for sharing bad content before, so I’d rather not do it again, at least not if I can help it!

  9. says

    I get the dilemma – no matter HOW great something is people will rarely get around to tweeting about it AFTER they read it. It’s just a simple matter of entropy. So you think, “Ah ha – I’ll use the carrot & stick method to entice them to help me get a little publicity.” So from the publishers perspective I totally get it.

    As the consumer you’ve now lost my interest. Not only would I not support something I haven’t seen and don’t use, the fact that you would require me to would make me think less of you. I totally agree – asking somebody to become a FB fan or give an email address is far more reasonable an exchange.

    Actually just a few days ago somebody on linked in was offering a free report. All you had to do was fill out this HUGE form with mailing address, multiple phone #s, etc. This is the internet age – why do you want my mailing address? I figure somebody so firmly rooted in 80’s marketing probably didn’t have much to teach me and so I passed on it.
    Alexis just posted When CoSleeping Means NoSleeping

    • says

      I guess I go against the grain Alexis. I find that if the content is good, I will come back and tweet where I got it from. Maybe the point is they need to make the content so awesome that people will feel it’s their duty to share it with their followers.

      Mailing address & phone number? Yipes, talk about web forms from the 90s. Must have been linked to a business, because everyone else knows if you as for more than a name and email, you’re losing tons of opt-ins.

  10. says

    Hey Kristi, you’ve definitely got a point, but I think the system can be applied differently. The way we’ve done it at Firepole Marketing (a couple of times, now) is that we write what we hope is an awesome post, and then there’s a PDF bonus that people can get by tweeting *about the post* – the idea being that if they want the PDF, it’s because the post was good enough to be worth sharing.

    It’s a different spin, and I agree that asking people to tweet about a bonus that they haven’t seen yet isn’t fair. But if it’s to get a bonus – does that seem reasonable to you?

    By the way, Davina had a similar post a short while back, that you might enjoy: http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/2011/04/tweet-to-get-gift/
    Danny just posted Vic Magary- Failure – The Interview

    • says

      Now that wouldn’t feel the same Danny; you’re giving me the choice based on something I can immediately evaluate, the post. It’s simple twist that I wouldn’t have thought of, so thanks for that!
      Ryah Albatros just posted Daily Action Recap

    • says

      Your’s is one that I trusted Danny, because of the say you approached it. Tweeting a post that I have read and liked I have no issues with, and getting the bonus download is just that – a bonus. The one I ran into recently had little info in the post itself – the post was just download my new guide to ___ and the tweet was something like “hey, I just downloaded this great guide on ___.” Combined with the fact that I didn’t know them, there was little there of value for me to judge whether it was worth it to share with my followers. And thanks for sharing her link – will go check it out!

  11. says

    Hey Kristi, I haven’t heard of this plugin, but I did use Cloud Flood once for a file on my blog. I created a list of 140 blogs that I think are worth hopping and made it available to download after either tweeting it or sharing on FB.

    It tweeted the message like “I just downloaded 140 blogs worth hopping, get your copy here” and there was a link sending people to the page where they can download it.

    I had great success with it and probably the most tweets any post ever received.

    What I think the value here is was that most of my readers knew I would not trick them into downloading some low quality thing. Also, they knew exactly what they were downloading, a list of 140 blogs, nothing more or less.

    The interesting part was that half of the tweets came from the people I have never seen before or after.

    Now if I was to download something like “3 sure ways to make $1.000 this weekend” and had to tweet about it, I would not. But when it comes to stuff where it is clear what you are sharing I don’t have a problem with tweeting it.

    Also, I really liked the feature that it was either FB share or a tweet so it got me some exposure on FB as well.

    Oh, before I go :) I want to say that a few people thought the list was interesting enough to create a challenge out of it so they started and I joined in a challenge to comment on all those blogs in 3 days :) Now that was crazy!
    Brankica just posted Social Saturday 9 List those Tweeps

    • says

      I totally understand your reasoning as to why you are not a fan of tweet2download Kristi. Ultimately it all boils down to credibility and trust, rather than anything else. As you said, it is very risky to share with your followers anything that you have not “seen” for yourself and for this purpose I too will stay away from sharing anything that your are comfortable with. On the other hand, I find the tools concept quite interesting as if used properly (that’s the key), it is way better than other “shady” forms of gaining more followers. Take Danny and Brankica’s example, they do it right.

      I used this tool once on my website and I provided a “summary” of what people expect to get from it should they choose to download the report I was providing. It is a free report from Brian Clark of Copyblogger and I guess that is reliable information and it went well. So, what I am trying to say here is that depending on how its used, yeah, it is very risky, but then again, if you had something here that you are providing and it requires me to use the tool, I would do it in a heartbeat :)
      DiTesco just posted Top Tools To Improve Site Speed Performance And Your Online Business

    • says

      Very true Brankica – if you know what you’re getting and who you’re getting it from, it’s not a bad thing to take part of. Maybe that’s the point – make sure that your description is so clear that people will be confident when they click to tweet your offer! :)

      • says

        Hi Kristi,

        “make sure that your description is so clear that people will be confident when they click to tweet your offer!” I think you nailed it on the head here.

        I’m all about marketing your blog and what works for some people may not work for others. But there’s also the credibility issue on the end of the person tweeting the download. If you care about what you share with your followers then you better make sure it’s quality content.

        I personally will tweet to forward if it’s from a reliable source. For example, if you or DiTesco would use this tool I will do it in a heart-beat! I am reluctant and more often will not do so if I do not have a relationship with the site owner.

        It’s really a tricky situation, I agree with that. As a site owner, if I have a great piece of content that I want to share but I want to maximize on it, than I can see how this is can be effective.

        That being said, if people trust you than usually just asking them to please share it will usually do the job. There are many other ways to market your content that doesn’t involved a bride. I agree with you 100%, I would rather use that content as an incentive to opt into my newsletter, where I know they will continue to get value over a course of time.

        Thanks for sharing your views on this. It’s really interesting to read everyone’s views on this subject. I still have mixed feelings on this as you see ;-) but it’s always great to hear all sides of an opinion on something. Very eye opening to hear how something like this lands for people.
        Michele Welch just posted Buffer- A Better Way To Schedule Tweets

    • says

      I’ve only done 2 so far Devesh… simply because I knew the writer, or it was to tweet a post that already had great content, even if you didn’t do the download. Everything else has been a pass.

  12. says

    Over two years of doing my thang on twitter and the last two things I’m interested in are automatically retweeting ANYONE and I’m def not into just following people “just to follow”. I connect online via social media outlets, which means I require the people I follow to be interactive and REAL.

    I have a pretty decent rant coming up about Twitter and some of the “new” ways that bloggers think they should be working the Twitter angle. Just getting annoyed thinking about it, haha.
    Extreme John just posted How to Post Pictures to a Facebook Page from a Mobile Phone

  13. says

    Kristi,

    I am with Danny and Brankia on this one. This could be used very effectively from your blog. I did participate in the Cloud Flood Brankia did. First of all I trust her and she said exactly what was in the download. Cloud Flood was put together by Glen Allsopp and I have no problem retweeting for his download. I also like the way he does it. You get a good portion of the data first and you must tweet to download the rest. By that time you are sure of quality.
    Sheila Atwood just posted Be Social Be Rich – Amazon Book by Martha Giffen

  14. says

    I’m with Kristi on this one. I don’t like the idea of being forced to tweet or follow someone just to get a download link. It strikes me as a flagrant attempt to artificially increase twitter subscribers. This isn’t 1996 any more; in an era where you can pretty much download entire high-definition movies with a single click of a mouse having to jump through hoops to get a simple download link is silly.

  15. says

    Yes Kristi we certainly agree on this. We both appreciate the work people do, even those we like and trust to deliver the goods, that’s not it. I get things and if they’re worth sharing.. then I will REALLY share them, blog about them, tweet them anyway – without being forced to do so, much less do so blindly. IMO it means more that I share it that way, rather than a tit-for-tat arrangement. FWIW.
    Davina K. Brewer just posted 10 Reasons You Don’t Want Me to Comment on Your Blog

    • says

      Good point Davina. At least when you see a tweet from someone about your product, you’ll know it’s because they genuinely liked it, not because they were somewhat forced to do it.

  16. says

    I remember the first time I saw one of those I was totally put off by it and had the exact same feelings. The funny thing is, I don’t recall the blog at all. Maybe I was so turned off by it that I left. There’s a point to consider.

    As a promotional tool, I think it’s worthless, sorry to say that. Neat idea and all that, but such a big turn off.

    I must have missed your tweet.
    Wayne just posted Brave kitty loving on dolphins

    • says

      I would think between a follower on Twitter and a mailing list subscriber, the latter would be much more valuable. Just incorporate your Twitter handle in your mailer and you can take care of two birds, one stone. :)

  17. says

    Tweet2download sounds a little appealing but at the same time seems a little bit wrong and not really what twitter should be about. I guess if it helps the benefits might be worth it. I just don’t see that much happening out of it. Still since I am not that familiar with the whole thing I will look into it in my spare time. I just don’t expect to benefit or get to much out of it. But, thanks for pointing it out.
    Ray just posted Tools of the trade

  18. says

    I agree with you, Kristi. I don’t like the idea of posting a tweet about something that I haven’t reviewed first. I understand the appeal, but it isn’t my style.

    Now, having said that, I’m testing out a new approach to Twitter which includes much more automation than I’ve ever tried. As you’re getting out of TwitterFeed, I’m getting into it. I’m testing out Ana Hoffman’s assertion that quantity is better than quality when it comes to Twitter (not sure I’m pushing far enough there though).

    I’ve set up specific accounts to do this, but I’m doing little automation (other than some scheduling) with my main accounts.
    Brad Harmon just posted 100 Twitter Ready Quotes from the Best Motivational Speakers

  19. says

    I think your point is valid and I agree you. I have been telling this to my clients. The best strategy should be adding the regular email address with the first freebie/brieb, then adding a second freebie/bribe. Something like “if you like the ebook (or watched the video) and you like it, get a access to my second free ebook (or video) using tweet2download”. Is certainly more rewarding. You’ll get the email in the beginning and then you get the traffic. of course not everybody will do it, but isn’t the email the important thing?
    Ricardo Nuñez just posted Must Have WordPress Plugins

  20. says

    I don’t really like it either but it’s always hard when you put weeks worth of work into something and you put it up on your site. You want people to engage with it but you also kind of want to get something out of it.

    With my last ebook I put up a pop-up that asks people to join my mailing list if they want to but if they don’t they can click through to skip it. It will be interesting to see if anyone joins but I’m always trying to find the right balance with this.
    A Website Designer just posted 8 features of great small business websites



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