Over the past few years Twitter has morphed from a crash prone butt of internet jokes, to one of the highest trafficked and loved sites on the web. But there’s just one problem. They aren’t making any money.. yet.
People have often wondered since Twitter went live how they would make money. After all they can’t just offer their service free of charge forever, right? SFGate.com talks about what is next for Twitter:
Already one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups, Twitter has won legions of converts and has emerged as a cultural phenomenon. But as the company grows, it faces a new challenge: turning its popularity into a business.
After nearly two years as a company, Twitter has yet to bring in revenue. In typical startup fashion, its founders have focused on adding users and fixing what until recently was a notoriously crash-prone service.
Twitter’s initial stab at making money likely will come by April, although it won’t be anything revolutionary, according to Evan Williams, the company’s chief executive. More will be introduced over the course of the year.
So how are they proposing to make money? Ads? Premium memberships?
Advertising is among the most obvious sources of revenue for Twitter, although it risks alienating users by bombarding them with sales pitches. Aware of the danger, executives talk about a more consumer-friendly strategy of users voluntarily signing up for alerts about new products that they’re interested in, or discounts.
“It would have to be well done because it’s such a personal medium,” said Liz Ross, president of North American operations for Tribal DDB advertising agency.
Another idea is to charge companies for corporate accounts that offer extra tools to connect with customers and to monitor what people are saying about products, the good and the bad. Indeed, Ross said, Twitter might be more valuable to companies as a place to listen, rather than talk.
So advertising via deals alerts, special fee-based corporate accounts are two ideas that they’re floating right now. I hope they’re careful about how they try to monetize the site, because as was stated, they don’t want to alienate their loyal user base. Then again, I’m not sure there is much that Twitter could do that really could get most people to drop the service. They’re just too addicted!
I for one have no problem with Twitter monetizing their site, and coming up with ways to make their venture self-supporting. No one expects to get it for free forever. I just hope that they continue along this path very carefully, and take into account the user experience, and making sure it doesn’t suffer as a result.
Interested in some other ways Twitter could monetize, or have an idea of your own? Check out this site where they’re accepting ideas for business models for Twitter. The winner will have their plan and resume posted, as well as having both submitted to Twitter!
What are some ways that you think Twitter could monetize the site? Are there any things that they might do that could get you to stop using the service?