I’ll admit, even with the introduction of Google’s fabulous new social network, Twitter is still my favorite. I love the simplicity, I love the openness, I love so many things about it and I want Twitter to be around for a very, very long time. Because I want Twitter to stick around, I often worry about their profitability. The lack of significant revenue in conjunction with the increasing costs of servers and development makes me worry about Twitter’s longevity.
Google already has revenue streams and can feasibly operate Google+ at a loss if it drives revenue in other areas; Twitter doesn’t enjoy that benefit. Facebook is already selling ads and is getting into other revenue generating activities, plus it has the population of the 3rd largest country in the world.
It doesn’t matter how tall of a building you compare the number of tweets sent per day, the simple fact is Twitter needs to make money at some point.
Selling ads, the current proposed strategy, is a double edged sword, it must be implemented carefully or it could piss of the users which, quite frankly, is Twitter’s only asset right now.
So how can Twitter make money? I want to open up this discussion. I’m going to pose a few ideas, but I’d love to hear from you, how do you think Twitter could/should make money?
Here are my ideas…
To me, this is the most obvious starting point. Twitter is a HUGE network with over 100 million active users. Of those active users, a small fraction of users make up the majority of activity. That small fraction of everyday power-users, would likely purchase a Twitter Pro account provided the additional features were worth it. Why do I think this? For starters because I already pay $5.99 per month for use Hootsuite Pro [affiliate link], $99 per year for Flow, $45 per year for Evernote Premium, $25 for Flickr Pro and $22 per month for Harvest [affiliate link]. Why do I spend all this money on these programs? Couldn’t I just use other products instead and pay less or nothing? Of course I could, but I believe these products are awesome and carry more value than competing products. So I willingly dish out the cash to use these pieces of software.
Twitter could create Twitter Pro and offer a number of upgrades.
- Archive feature, go back and see ALL of your tweets EVER.
- Get an end of year document with all of your tweets, and an executive overview with personal trending topics and top 10 connections
- Expanded Profile information. Non-pro users may want to sign up just to have the expanded profile, in the same way that we ALL crave the “verified account” badge.
- Expanded Direct Messages. 280 characters.
- Account Analytics: top referring users, conversion rates to follow, etc.
- Multiple account support. Fast switching between accounts.
- Expanded access to Twitter search. Additional advanced search capabilities. Greater access to the “firehose.”
- Etc. Etc. You get the point. Make it good.
Access to the firehose
The “firehose” is the overwhelming feed of information that flows through Twitter. This firehose is a wealth of data that can be mined and utilized for market research, trend analysis and other insights. Twitter could charge for varying levels of access to the full firehose. This could be sold to social media monitoring services as well as average users that want expanded search. Twitter Pro users could get a bump to the next level of access for signing up.
Accept donations (a la Wikipedia)
The birth of Wikipedia was a revolution in how we find information. Now years later, millions of articles, in dozens of languages Wikipedia is fighting to stay alive as expanding server costs put the community knowledge base in jeopardy. Wikipedia is actively seeking donations. And as someone that uses Wikipedia regularly, I don’t think it’s a stretch to throw a few dollars towards a site that has made such a difference…Twitter is not much different.
Twitter, especially with the accepted use of Pseudonyms, has made revolutionary events in politics and world governments into an entirely different experience than at anytime prior to the existence of these technologies. I feel that Twitter, as a service, is important. It is important that Twitter remain available for free, I think donations could help make that happen.
I’m not advocating that Twitter let people buy access to Verified Accounts, however, I think Twitter could charge a $25-$50 administration fee to process your request for a verified account. That verified account badge goes a long way on Twitter.
Your Idea HERE
So that’s all for me for right now. What are your ideas? Sound off in the comments. Let’s see what comes out of the big brains of my readers.