Twitter currently makes most of its money selling ads and access to its firehose, but what if it started charging users to access premium features?
The news this week that China’s answer to Twitter, Sina Weibo, started charging membership fees for premium features shows that it might not be absurd for Twitter to follow suit.
Weibo users can pay 10 yuan – or about $1.57 USD – per month to access things like a more personalized profile page, voice-enabled posts and higher levels of security.
So how would a VIP or premium plan look on Twitter?
Personalized pages would definitely be part of the package. Twitter already offers customizable brand pages to certain businesses, so it wouldn’t be difficult to roll this out to VIP users.
And voice-enabled posts are an interesting idea. Leaving a tweet from your smartphone might be easier if you could just speak it instead of typing it. However, the text- and link-based nature of Twitter might not be too conducive to a sprinkle of “elite” voice tweets from paid users.
Also interesting is the gold crown that TechInAsia noticed on the pages of Weibo VIP users. This could be equivalent to Twitter’s blue Verified User checkmark, and since the company is already giving it out to advertisers who spend a certain amount, it’s not that big of a leap to start offering it directly to users willing to cough up some dough.
But all of these bells and whistles aside, Twitter’s biggest user-supported cash-cow would probably be the TweetDeck dashboard which it acquired last year. I could see power users paying good money to access premium bulk scheduling, social timing, CRM monitoring, team management and other features.
Regular users, on the other hand, might not be so willing to pay to access Twitter – especially since they’ve been getting it for free for years. Even if the company were to offer dozens of features to its VIP users, it’s doubtful whether this approach would a) sit well with users or b) bring in enough revenue to make it worthwhile.
So here is what it all comes down to: would you pay to access premium features on Twitter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
(Mobile payment image via Shutterstock)