What If Twitter Wants More Money?

It’s late, it’s Friday, so let’s participate in Web 2.0′s favourite parlour game – let’s think up a revenue stream for Twitter!

It surprises me that everyone says that Twitter doesn’t have one. Because it does – a little slice of the pie from every SMS sent and received in the US (and those sent in the UK, given that we’re sensible and don’t have to pay to receive SMS on our handsets). And no, I don’t have the numbers to hand that would let me work out if it’s profitable or not, but my gut feel is that it covers a significant portion, but not all, of the costs.

So if Twitter was to open a stream, I’d think they would be best to look at the ‘Freemium’ service, similar to the Pro membership available on Flickr. I think fighting for more advertising dollars, in a mobile, portable, short format is not going to work. After all how easy would it be to strip out links to ads in clients such as Twhirl (unless of course, the third party client gets a 5% kickback… just a thought). Advertising on mobile browsers is still proving incredibly tricky to achieve, so I doubt that the tight confines of the microblogging service would provide a reasonable click through.

The numbers from Twitter Japan on the ads on a boxout on the Twitter.jp website may well have a bearing here, but if the main service needs to earn cash, I think that asking the users who like the service to cough up $20 a year should be more than enough.

The question is what would you want to have for being a premium member? You either have to limit some of the services already existing (perhaps user uploaded wallpaper?) or add in something new that’s only for the payees… you could joke about stability but some sort of priority on message delivery could be an option?

What else can we come up with?

3 Responses to “What If Twitter Wants More Money?”

  1. MartinSFP says:

    The problem with Twitter is to add too much (even as premium services) takes away from the purity of it. The ability to add rich media content to tweets would be an option but people who use it with SMS rather than a desktop client wouldn’t benefit.

    An interesting conundrum! The 5% kickback on ads maybe the best option for everyone (except the users…).

  2. Cintra says:

    $20 a year!? Well I guess its a cheap test of whether you are a compulsive tweeter or not..

  3. Owen Blacker says:

    Hmm, apparently this never got posted when I first came to comment on this post :$

    Now I’ve never understood why some people are so averse to *some* adverts. Sure, those irritating Flash things that load a plugin you weren’t using and then wank flickering and “LOOK AT ME”-ness all over the page you’re TRYING TO READ is really bloody irritating.

    Google Ads, however, are absolutely no problem to me — they just sit there and are really easy for me to ignore. Yes, I have that Greasemonkey script that gets rid of them in Gmail, but only because it gives me more screen to use for THE CONTENT.

    So adverts wouldn’t intrinsically bother me.

    Better, though, would be a premium service, definitely. Though I can’t think what it could offer either. I guess priority delivery might be useful once the service gets bigger (though I too would be quite happy just for reliability so far — I don’t receive Tweets by text because it only ever sent me them between 2100 and 0100 for some reason). It’d be nice if they’d fix that bug that means they get confused over character counts with high-bit characters (or give a better error message about it).

    But I’d gladly pay more than $20 a year (which is absolutely nothing, given Dubya has pushed the dollar into the toilet, after all) just to support the service, to be honest.