I noticed with interest this week that China’s equivalent of Twitter, Sina Weibo, has started to introduce charges for certain premium features.

This reminded me of a report from not that long ago about how bad Twitter has been at monetising its services, and I’ve been wondering whether it is possible that in the future we might see Twitter adopt a similar practice, effectively offering a two tier microblogging platform, and what those premium services might be.

Would You Pay For A Two Tier Twitter Service?
Clearly businesses use Twitter in a quite different way from private individuals, but would there be any benefit in providing alternative versions of Twitter, separating out the private chitchat from the business to business networking?

The premium services now offered by Sina Weibo cost just £1 per month, for which its 300 million users are able to add personalised pages, voice posts and improved security. This move is in response to the fact that in the first-quarter of this year it made a £9 million loss.

Clearly Twitter users can already create reasonably personalised pages, adding their own backgrounds which may include contact details, and there are a range of ways in which Twitter users can already post both video and audio tweets. There is certainly no likelihood that Twitter will be charging for the opportunity to use features which already exist, but are there features which might be worth considering offering which may perhaps be of more interest to businesses and those who use Twitter at least partially as a marketing platform?

One thing is certain with the clear competition between Twitter and Facebook, and that is that if Twitter started to charge for certain premium features, Facebook would immediately capitalise on that and would probably introduce equivalent services or options for free. The other concern of course is that if Twitter started to dramatically change the way it looks and behaves it may move too far away from the simple, streamlined and efficient microblogging service for which it has always been known.

Certainly I can see that perhaps there would be a benefit, particularly with the new user interface which reduces the visibility of the background, of introducing an option for people to include links to their website, blog or other online profile or resource. Currently it is only possible to include one single meaningful link in the very brief bio section.

Have Your Say!

I’d like to throw this open to you. I’d like to know whether you would be prepared to pay for premium services offered by Twitter, and if so, what those premium services might be. Would you want to see a two tier Twitter platform? Would you be prepared to pay for the service already offered by Twitter? What would be the impact of providing optional premium services?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below and let’s see what people think about this idea.


Image Credit: http://www.seodesign.us