I can’t help but feel sorry for Twitter and Facebook. Literally over a billion users between them but fairly middling profit and in the case of Twitter no actual revenue. In addition Facebook has become a massive billboard and Twitter is now pumping promoted tweets into your stream. The same issue applies with Linkedin, adverts that are semi relevant to me.
So the problem is simple: for a social network to make money they need to inject advertising into your face.How about a freemium model? E-Consultancy has some thoughts:
The people most likely to pay for Twitter are its most committed and enthusiastic users; advertisers aren’t going to be crazy about paying to target thousands of rarely used or dormant accounts while the most valuable prospects frolic in a garden within a garden.
But let’s get real. What sort of money are we talking? How about $10 a year? That’s surely a reasonable and manageable sum for those who really appreciate Twitter, from practically anywhere in the world. A trial period could help new users get into the experience before committing.
Of course, not everyone will go for it. But if just one-tenth of Twitter’s 500m active users paid up, the revenue realised would be $500m a year. For context, that’s roughly three times what the site made from advertising during 2011.
On the plus side, it would keep the platform free of ads – and free of the obligation to cater to advertisers’ wishes. It would deal a killer blow to the spambots that plague bona fide users. And it would bring in cash that could be used to improve the core experience in ways users actually want.
Personally the ads don’t bother me enough yet but I could see this becoming useful. It’s unlikely this will ever fly but it’s a great idea.