Saturday, September 13, 2008

How much will you pay for twitter?

How much will you pay for twitter? It's something all twitter users will have to consider because, like it or not, subscription is in the business plan. So is a (they hope) subtle form of advertising.

These details were included in the pitches they made in the recent round of funding. Even those of us who weren't privy to those pitches have been able to work this much out for ourselves.

Recently set limits on the numbers of followers/followed hints at a TwitterPro kind of model in the Flickr vein. By the way, Flickr refuses to disclose how many people have taken up their pro option. LinkedIn isn't exactly raddled with pro users either, for that matter.

The 140 characters allowed in each tweet, rather than the standard 160 characters of an sms message indicate, perhaps, a place to carry a word from our sponsors...

Yes Twitter got its funding. But funnily enough, the model didn't float the boat of every VC that Twitter pitched. Particularly when those VCs considered the numbers of truly active users (still something of a guarded secret).

For all this Twitter is extremely useful. It is one of a handful of elements of social media I would willingly pay money for.

But I had to use it first to discover how valuable it was to me. Same, I guess, is true of blogger.

So I'm guessing the entry level on twitter will remain free. Perhaps for anyone with up to 2000 followers. This will be ad supported. Perhaps there will be an option to pay NOT to be interrupted by advertising.

I hope not, because that would indicate twitter isn't thinking very cleverly about what advertising can become within its communities of purpose (there are fantastic opportunities for real-time human interaction at the point of intent, recommendations from within your network of trust, etc).

What is for certain is that without a revenue stream Twitter is just another feature when viewed from the VC end of the telescope. A nice to have. Ecosystem et al.

And,.as Facebook is discovering, features without revenue streams point in only one direction when it comes to valuation.


  1. re your comment that "I had to use it first to discover how valuable [twitter] was to me", I think a whole lot of us have had the same experience. agree this makes it critical for them to have free entry-level accoounts.

  2. They should leave end users along and take the money from where there is some to be made: businesses.
    I see many businesses with a twitter as a way to send people updates, this is one great place to start. Twitter is in a way like a PR Newswire channel, and it should be possible to charge businesses for twittering updates.
    Then there is also the Yammer option, have an enterprise option where the tweets are limited to a given group (co-workers, or people belonging to some organization).
    Having said this, people with many followers can be considered a business too, if you have more than 2000 followers, you are somewhat of a PR machine as well.
    The risk is that once you are labelled as "pro", will people trust what you tweet as much? So back to businesses only, unless they want to take the chance of killing the hype that the people with many users is creating for them...


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