Finally testing the 'revenue' waters, Twitter is launching a commercial account business model that will charge corporate accounts for analytical tools. In a recent announcement Biz Stone confirmed that Twitter will be offering a paid-for option that will provide users deeper insight into its analytics.
Biz StoneResisting the "Google" model of contextual, banner or display ads, Stone claims its revenue plans will be "native to the site" and won't interfere with how users currently interact with the microblogging service.
Twitter Corporate AnalyticsThe launch of the commercial accounts will not require that all businesses will suddenly have to pay for Twitter access. Stone reassured users that the service would always remain free to corporate and personal users alike, but he said Twitter would offer companies additional paid-for services that have value and worth a premium fee. No exact details of what that translates into as far as dollars and cents at this time.
Differing from media moguls like Rupert Murdoch, Stone sees Twitter as an "open" channel for free communication. However, certain corporate accounts may see an advantage for paying for a premium service.
Monetizing TwitterStone cited potential uses for the planned paid services, such as airlines being able to analyze data from customers who subscribe to their Twitter feeds. In addition to those paid services, according to Justin Mann at TechSpot, "Twitter also has plans to begin licensing their content and streams to other websites, opening doors to work with news or media agencies down the road. Stone envisions news agencies using live Twitter feeds as part of their news-gathering, something that may be of use to a world where real-time news has substantial value."
So its come to this. Twitter,long criticized for not developing a plan to monetize their microblogging platform will probably be equally chastised for finally instituting one. My personal opinion is that Premium Accounts are a natural evolution of any social network, API or software program once it has crowdsourced enough feedback regarding its value from its user base. I think Twitter's 3-year run in what should still be considered a beta mode was the appropriate amount of time to determine this next important step in their development.
And for those of you who view Twitter's altruistic motives with a more cynical eye, here's a satirical look at a behind-the-scenes strategy session between Biz Stone and one his cronies discussing monetization. (note: this SimplyZesty vid contains some strong language, but the humor is worth the view).