Via: Brand Republic
Co-founder Biz Stone told Marketing: ‘We are noticing more companies using Twitter and individuals following them. We can identify ways to make this experience even more valuable and charge for commercial accounts.’ He would not be drawn on the level of charges.
Let the backlash commence
It will be interesting to see which businesses “drop-off” once they are made to pay. And it will be interesting to see how Twitter deals with rolling out such a pay model – there will be problems with the whiners who will complain that they can no longer get everything for free, and there are a few grey areas such as prominent individuals at businesses, or celebrities.
I’m just delighted to hear that Twitter have finally started to hint at how they are going to monetise the service – it’s all very well getting VC funding, but I’m a firm believer in charging from the outset for a product/service. If you have faith that it’s going to be the next big thing then it should be a no-brainer to try to get income from the get-go. That’s how businesses have worked for years because it’s a sensible way of doing business. Imagine opening a shop where you gave everything away for free for two years – you just wouldn’t think of doing it, and certainly nobody would give you millions of VC funding to do it.
Freemium makes business sense
The reason a lot of start-ups have all free accounts at the start is that they want to get people using their service (and maybe they’re not neccessarily confident that people will use it if they charged from the start). Trouble comes though when you try and impose a pay model onto your thousands of happy users – it’s like taking away a child’s favourite toy unless they give you some money. If you try and monetise your service from the outset though, this problem can be avoided as people already have the expectation that if they want the full service they are going to have to pay. Which sounds very reasonable to me. A prime example of doing things this way round is 37Signals who make several business-focussed web apps (project collaboration, intranets, contact management system, group chat). Each of their products has a free plan that lets you test it out to see whether it fits your needs. If it does and you want some of the extra features then they ask you to pay a reasonable monthly fee.
So if you’re about to take over the world with the next big internet thing, give something away for free to give people a taste, but have premium plans that give them the whole service. You’ll be a lot happier earning real money. If only Twitter and countless other start-ups had done that from the outset.
What do you think?
Should internet web sites like Twitter be free to use for eternity? Would you rather internet services be funded purely by advertising? Let me know in the comments.