Pagelines promotes PlatformPro in their competitor’s Twitter search streams

16 Comments

PageLines has started promoting their PlatformPro WordPress theme via Promoted Tweets in their competitor’s Twitter streams. As far as we have been able to dig up, they have targeted the Twitter search streams for “Themify”, “Press75”, “StudioPress”, “Headway”, and “Thematic”. With the exception of Press75, all of the theme vendors targeted provide theme frameworks of various types.

The Promoted Tweet typically reads “Want a more flexible theme? Try #PlatformPro drag & drop framework here: http://test.pagelines.com (Video: http://bit.ly/g4803m)”. You have to be signed in to Twitter to see the promoted tweet on Twitter.com itself, though using a Twitter app like HootSuite or TweetDeck also seems to display the promotions.

Pagelines is also promoting this tweet on searches for “WordPress” and “themes” on Twitter as well. You can see screenshots of each of the above in the gallery below. Pagelines was contacted for this post, but had no comment.

Promoted Tweets are a relatively new Twitter addition that allow invited advertisers, like PageLines, to pay to promote a tweet to a particular audience of Twitter users.

Pagelines Promoted Tweets Gallery

So what do you think? Are promoted tweets like this fair game?

16 thoughts on “Pagelines promotes PlatformPro in their competitor’s Twitter search streams

  1. I think it’s clever.

    However, I’m not sure if the people who would want “drag and drop” framework are the same people on twitter. I think there is a good chance it might be different demographics.

  2. I wish I could say this is just a good business tactic but I think anyone would agree this is hitting below the belt. Disgraceful, poor edicate and in bad taste overall.

  3. I saw this at WC Phoenix. It looks like they had bought the #wcphx hashtag as well, so it was always at the top of the column in Tweetdeck. A filter took care of it, though. Seems a bit classless.

  4. Twitter is not the only place competitors do this. This is the same as buying a competitor’s keywords on search engines. I think it’s good for the end-user. They are given more options, especially if they don’t know about the other platforms.

  5. Promoting tweets in your competitor’s hashtag is like a Bears fan wearing a jersey at a Packer’s game. Don’t be surprised if people look at you funny, call you names or even bump you as your standing in line for a hot dog.

  6. @Garth I can understand paying for keywords that our global like “wordpress” or “themes”, as you noted, you see this kind of behaviour in other mediums like Google ad words but when you’re paying to advertise on someones specific brand, that’s where your crossing a line. Microsoft promoting Windows7 on the keyword “OSX” isn’t heard of.

    Competing/paying for generalized keywords (for your market) is fine but I would never promote on a specific, branded, word like “Pagelines”. I think the whole thing wreaks of desperation and distaste.

  7. im a proud customer of studiopress, themify, press75, headway, and from this alone, i would never ever buy a theme from a company who exploits others fame, if people are listing search results from themify, i would expect themify products, not be fooled into a product from another vendor.

    they are offically on my list of theme(s) never to buy, and I was seriously looking into buying platform pro, they just lost a customer.

    big loss for them too, as we buy many premium products.

  8. I saw them targeting other hashtags as well that we used in our tweets. Because when I went to reply t a tweet and see the conversation .. I saw them on our tweets as well. This is absolute desperation.

    I honestly was really pissed off.

    The part that I love best about WP commercial space is that everyone gets along. We are all friends. I know Cory from iThemes and Grant from Headway are great friends. Same goes along with Brian, Jason, and many others. Everyone get along and work together.

    Nobody tries to hit a low blow like this one. While they might convert beginners to buy their theme, but I think it is bad business, and they will lose a lot of support from the WP Elites. I think responses in this post makes it pretty obvious as well.

  9. Sounds like a kind of SEO black hat method for the WordPress Theme market. I doubt that they will get many fans for this. We wouldn’t even consider to cross the line with our framework like they did, just to promote our product. Especially everybody knows each other, even we are spread all over the world, the WordPress Premium Theme/Framework vendor community is still small and we know each other.

  10. Sure… Are their better ways (meaning you don’t “piss” anyone off) to market yourself? Definitely.

    But honestly I believe that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. Sometimes business is just business and marketing a relatively new business is damn hard. So take every gap you can. IMO if someone wanted to click on a promoted tweet over an authentic tweet recommending another theme, that’s most probably a user that I wouldn’t want.

  11. Hey Adii,
    I consider Woothemes the top commercial WordPress theme vendor and yet, strangely, Pagelines didn’t advertise on your Twitter stream. Again, I would think being the largest in the market that you’d have the biggest impact on the social web with a large reach. So why wouldn’t they try to advertise to your customers? It would make smart “business” sense for them to got after your users yet they didn’t. In my mind this was a calculated move to try and market to the widest audience without pissing off the giant that your company is. Not sure if your opinion would change if they had indeed promoted themselves on Woothemes feed but either way, I think legally there’s nothing wrong with what they did. Morally you must know you would never do something like this and neither would anyone else with confidence in their own product.

  12. The same could be said for a “crumbling building” in a cartoon.

    Really though? I’ve never done it, but Microsoft recently started doing this to Apple hashtags and other big tech companies have been doing it for a while now.

    Should we get mad when Verizon airs a negative ad about AT&T. This is business and it’s competitive. Although the WordPress community is overall very complimentary of each others businesses which is a good thing… I don’t at all see a problem with this and just see it as showing customers of those theme companies what else is out there.

    Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but let the customer decide with their wallet. I agree with Adii that it might not be the best way, but it just seems competitive to me and not a low blow.

  13. I sell themes too and I see this as part of the game, not one I wish to engage in but it’s “fairly” legal. I say fairly because the only visible court case with regards to this was Google vs. Geico (look it up), and Google came out on top: “Overture settled in late November, but Google continued its fight, winning a significant victory in December when Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that there was no evidence that the use of the trade marks as sponsored search terms caused confusion.” . I don’t know how legal systems in other countries would deal with it, perhaps differently?

    All in all. this is similar to the woo comic thing going on, it’s nothing illegal, but you’re exposing yourself to some negative press which in turn affects your reputation. My guess is we’ll be seeing more of this as the industry matures.

  14. I don’t know that I consider this “below the belt.” We don’t promote UpThemes in other theme providers’ twitter search streams or do anything like that with Google AdWords, but if we did, I’m sure competitors would understand the reasoning behind such a marketing effort. I guess it’s good to know that others DO take issue with this particular practice.

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