Twitter: Here is a business model for you


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I used to doubt the value of Twitter and recently became a cautious convert. But this week, I turned into a Twitter lover.

What did it for me?

Well, I was watching the tweets come across the ticker in real time on Tuesday while Google were announcing new features for one of their popular products in a session at a conference in Washington D.C., some 2,500 miles away from me.

It was exciting and like being there in person.

Thanks to tweets, e.g. by @June_Li. What a great use of Twitter.

But as you know, Twitter has a big problem:

It hasn’t found a business model.

And, famously, Twitter users also have a problem:

The vast majority of tweets are boring and a nuisance.

Some tweeters tweet more often than they have interesting things to share. It’s a new form of spam! There should really be a frequency cap.

Twitter could do everybody and themselves a big favor and solve both problems with a single strike.

I’d propose they should charge an increasing price for each tweet per person per day, e.g. as follows:

  • Your first tweet per day is free
  • 2nd tweet per day, you pay 50 cents
  • 3d, you pay $1
  • 4th, you pay $2
  • 5th, you pay $4
  • 6th, you pay $8

Surely, if something is worth saying to your followers you will spend a buck to do so. And if it isn’t worth a buck even to you, then, by all means, shut up.

Meanwhile, Twitter would leave it completely free to follow as many tweets as you like.

They could do slight refinements to this. E.g. if a tweet is retweeted it apparently provided value to the community. They could waive the fee for you in such cases.

Twitter could forecast how much revenue they can expect from a move like this. Since they aren’t doing this, I presume they will have thought it through and probably concluded that there is a problem with this idea. The numbers might not add up to justify their current $1B valuation maybe.


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