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IDG News Service - Twitter has tied with American Express to offer its merchants and card members early access to an online advertising platform for small businesses that the social networking company is launching in late March, the card company said on Thursday.
The first 10,000 eligible businesses that register will receive US$100 in free Twitter advertisements when using the platform, it said.
On the signup page, Twitter has also announced the offer, inviting American Express card members and merchants to try "our new advertising solution for small businesses".
Twitter's online self-service platform has been expected for some time, but will be initially available to businesses with a billing address in the U.S., who have never advertised on Twitter before.
The program is currently open to American Express card members and merchants who use Twitter to send business news and updates to their followers and who actively interact with other Twitter users through facilities on the service, Twitter said.
Twitter is currently running a beta with a few advertisers of some of its programs such as Promoted Tweets which are priced on a "cost-per-engagement" basis, so that businesses pay only when an user "retweets, replies to, clicks or favorites" a Promoted Tweet. Promoted Accounts feature in Twitter searches and "who to follow" recommendations.
Twitter acquired last month Internet security firm Dasient which introduced in 2010 a service to protect advertisement networks and publishers from malicious ads. The acquisition of the Sunnyvale, California company fitted with Twitter's plans to expand revenue from advertising including promoted Twitter messages and accounts.