by Michelle Lentz 

One thing I love about bub.blicio.us readers is that you talk to me. You’re not afraid to post comments or links. So I have a question for you – Would you pay for Twitter? Apparently the thought is being tossed around, although it’s worth mentioning it hasn’t come from the folks actually working at Twitter. It’s come from many of the power users.

Newmedia Jim had a thought-provoking post on this, all stirred up by Jason Calacanis. I posted a comment over on Jim’s blog, but then I started thinking a little more about this and I want to amend and elaborate.

My first instinct is no, I won’t pay for Twitter. After all, I don’t pay for Pownce, Jaiku, FriendFeed, or any of the other countless social networks I find myself a part of. Then I remember, I pay a small fee to Typepad every month to host my blogs and their images. I pay $25 to Flickr each year to upload as many photos as my heart desires. Why wouldn’t I pay for Twitter?

So my revised answer is sure, I’ll pay a yearly fee to Twitter if it goes that way. But I would see it as something similar to Flickr – $24.95/year for added benefits. I have no quibble with that. Make it easy to group tweet or send direct messages to multiple people, alphabetize my followers list, and more features. Possibly put a limit on how many messages per month a standard account can tweet. Twitter Pro and Twitter Standard would work, assuming the Twitter Pro account isn’t ungodly expensive.

As Jim points out in his blog, $60 is currently what it takes to fill up a gas tank. I can only imagine the gas prices in larger citiies – in Cincinnati we crossed the $4/gallon mark this weekend. I have better things to do with my money than pay Twitter. But I hold that if I can pay Flickr $25/year, I can pay it to Twitter as well.  

Do I think this is coming? No, not yet, so I’m not overly concerned. But I found it an interesting question.

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Contact me with new media, apps, news, and more at michelle[at]writetech[dot]net or via
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Discussion

    no imageJen (Who am I?)27 May 2008 12:42 pm

    I don’t think a Twitter Pro is unreasonable, or impossible – but I really don’t pay for any online service but my web hosting, and I wouldn’t relish having to pay for the privilege of using the Twitter network I’ve spent many months building for free. If it does happen, Twitter will have to be very, very careful with it.

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    no imagemichellelentz (Who am I?)27 May 2008 1:02 pm

    Jen:
    I agree. After all, the number one commodity of Twitter is its community – the people. If they went to a subscription plan, they would run the risk of scaring off some of the community just by broaching the idea.
    Thanks for the comment!
    - Michelle

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    no imageAndrew Mager (Who am I?)27 May 2008 1:16 pm

    I would pay for a reliable social messaging service if it had everybody in my community.

    At this rate, Twitter isn’t impressing anybody with their uptime percentages. I am ashamed sometimes.

    Twitter is so valuable though. They gotta figure it out. It should actually stay free, but I would pay for it.

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    no imageBill (Who am I?)27 May 2008 1:49 pm

    I wouldn’t pay for Twitter in its current condition. It is an unreliable beta version. Twitter gets plenty of money from other sources. When they fix their uptime problems I would be willing to see whether the payback I might get from Twitter would be enough to justify paying whatever it is they decide to charge. Until then, my participation just helps them get more money. That will have to be good enough.

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    no imageJim Long (Who am I?)27 May 2008 2:29 pm

    Michelle, first and foremost, thanks for the shout out! Thank you also for joining the conversation on my blog. It’s good that other voices are being hear on this. You said it best:
    ” After all, the number one commodity of Twitter is its community – the people.”

    They’re nothing without us.

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    no imageShawn K (Who am I?)27 May 2008 4:50 pm

    I think we’re going to cross the $4/gallon mark on Thursday in southwest North Dakota, and then it will be $60 to fill my Grand Am. That being said, despite all the convenience my car provides me, it doesn’t help me, inspire me, or impact me the way Twitter does. I would gladly pay a reasonable rate for Twitter.

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    no imageAbby Martin (Who am I?)27 May 2008 5:08 pm

    Twitter is useful and addictive but I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay for the current version unless they would refund me for the down times. Mind you, I don’t think they could afford that business model…

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    no imagegammill (Who am I?)27 May 2008 5:41 pm

    I’d pay for Twitter, or a similar service, that had the appropriate reliability (I know they are working on it) and feature set (not quite there yet for me).

    I’d also tolerate SMS advertising (but I’m a little biased to wanting to see that business model work) so a partnership with 4INFO would solve that.

    Monetization at Twitter is a matter of deciding which path makes the most sense to the community & the company and then pulling the trigger.

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    no imageDaryl Tay (Who am I?)27 May 2008 11:08 pm

    I’d be open to ads, but not paying. I admit to be heavily reliant/addicted to Twitter, but I could unplug and move to Pownce/Jaiku/Friendfeed and even Facebook if I needed to.

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    no imageMike Stopforth (Who am I?)28 May 2008 12:09 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, and said the same thing to Technorati about a hundred years ago, before they became redundant. Twitter, and I daresay Facebook and even Google are just good enough to be able to ask money. And I’d willingly pay it, like I do for top Mac apps, Flickr, Plaxo, etc…

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    no imagejacob morgan (Who am I?)28 May 2008 2:37 pm