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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

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How intrusive will advertising feel on a social media platform designed to link you to friends and family?



The best things in life may be free, but that can't last forever. The Associated Press reported this week that Instagram, the popular snapshot-based social media platform, will start showing "occasional" photo and video advertisements in coming months.

You can't keep losing money forever, of course, but I have to say I'm increasingly skeptical these days of online services' attempts to use advertising as their business model. When was the last time you followed one of those sponsored links on Facebook? Or clicked on one of those Google ads instead of scrolling down to see your actual search results? Social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter seem especially unlikely to drive advertising traffic. Are you really ever going to launch your Instagram app to see what your friends and family are up to and — ooh, look! Walmart!

Time will tell.

[Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 3:01pm]


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