I just got to know that the co-founder of Twitter – Biz Stone has confirmed that Twitter plans to charge businesses for extra services. This might sound exciting to all those investors who have invested in the company and hoping to see some returns atleast now.
Since Twitter was started, everyone has been asking
- “How can Twitter make money?”
- “What business model will they follow?”
- “From where they will get the returns?”
There is no doubt that Twitter has proven it’s value. It has helped many businesses (like Dell) who have successfully used Twitter to reach out to their new customers and sell their products effectively. Twitter is seen as one of the fastest growing Social media networks in the world today. it has even managed to get past Digg in terms of traffic.
There are said to be anywhere from 4 million to 6 million people using Twitter and as per Compete, it is the 3rd biggest social network today. But the problem with monetizing social networks like Twitter is that people don’t go there to buy, but to communicate. Plus, they’re used to getting everything free. Looking at the Twitter way of operating, there is hardly a chance to monetize seeing the way it operates. More than 90% of the traffic to twitter come from external services like Tweetdeck & Twhirl which uses Twitter’s API (for FREE of-course). Ironically, most of these external services are making money but not Twitter. Services like Twitterific are even started charging the users!
So, what will happen if Twitter starts charging?
This is not an easy question to answer or even to speculate. Will people migrate to another free service if Twitter charges? Well, Yes! May be! But most importantly, Facebook released a statement saying that from now on their API has been made Public, which many people think is a shot at Twitter. Facebook is surely in a better place than twitter. They are already No.1 in terms of traffic and they are making enough profits as well. So, in case Twitter goes ahead and starts charging the businesses, facebook will be more than happy to embrace Twitter users with open arms. And there is Friendfeed as well.
May be a business house – say DELL may be happy to pay Twitter just because they are getting back so much from it, but what about normal users? You and me? Will *YOU* pay for using it? What services would be valuable enough that you would pay for them?