So a couple days ago I wrote about “exec-tweets” and how stupid I thought the concept was. I also said in the next couple days I would write more about my ideas for Twitter to monetize their platform. So here we go…

The “Buy A Friend” Option?

A little while ago, Jason Calacanis threw out that he would pay $500k to be listed as a suggested user for 3 years.

Twitter turned down his offer. But people are now saying they are entertaining the idea of it.

But is it a good value? Sure you will no doubt have millions of followers but will they actually care about what you are doing like natural followers would?

I can use myself for an example. Before I started the Twitter contest, I had about 10k followers and got about 500 unique visitors from Twitter each day. The contest virtually doubled my followers to 20k+ and now I am almost at 23k. But the traffic to my site from Twitter is about the same. Hmmm….

To be honest, the “buy a friend option” for Twitter IMO is not good for them. It artificially inflates users “trust” with the community and does not give any value to the person paying.

I equate this kind of traffic to pop-up, interstitial, or incentivized traffic. It’s just not going to convert very well.

So what can Twitter do to make money?

Offer Premium Accounts

Let me pay a monthly fee for premium features on Twitter. I took a straw poll with my friends and every one of them said they would pay $10 a month for a premium account. Not one of them even asked what the features would be.

I can throw out some ideas though:

1) Give me unlimited or more API calls. I use like 6 different computers and have Tweetdeck on each one. I also crank up the updates so its like almost real time. This sucks when I leave them logged on cause I always have zero API calls.

2) Buy something like Twitpic and give me unlimited hosting.

3) Buy something like 12seconds and allow me to add video to my twits.

4) Let me use animated gifs.

5) Put a little thing around my avatar that says I am special (premium user).

6) Let me rotate multiple avatars.

7) Let me use animated avatars.

Seriously, I could go on all day for features they could add.

In my opinion, this is the best way for Twitter to monetize their service. It keeps the integrity of Twitter and also will make them a ton of cash! Subscriptions 4tw.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

80 thoughts on “Twa-Ching – Twitters Monetization Paths”
  1. Not only is your new layout fucking sweet, this post is got retweet all over it!

    1. I don’t know about the whole “buy a friend” model, I agree that people are going to knock off twitter, and that facebook has almost pretty much done that.

      The premium level may work – but how would you distinguish a million dollar corporate user like CNBC from someone who’s a small fish that’s using twitter for, lets say, generating additional link traffic. They’d be better off charging for extra services, or ad revenue.

  2. I agree, as huge as Twitter has become, people WILL pay for unique services like the ones you mentioned…

  3. I don’t see Twitter using the buy a friend option…It won’t bring enough cash in considering you couldn’t have 1500 suggestions for friends…

    Next the premium level is kind of stupid…You would still have to keep twitter the same for the free people and not stoop down with the free use of Twitter…Considering that is how it is now..You can’t feed a dog steak all his life and then kick him some hot dogs and expect him to like it like usual.

    The only option is really ad revenue…They could use a mixture of all the above listed and that would bring in a lot of income.

  4. They seem to talk a lot about new updates and R&D but are not yet ready for monetizing. Premium Users can be a good idea for them as well as the paid users!

  5. It surprises me that Twitter doesn’t have a “private garden” like Yammer or a group feature (do they?)

    I.e. Maybe I’d like to Tweet members of my Poker group about something without sharing it with the whole world and/or feeds to my blog, etc…

    Posted from iPhone

  6. I agree, allow more “typical” profile features with an upgraded account. Kind of how LinkedIn only allows you to connect with some many groups at one time but with an upgraded monthly account you can join more groups. Things like this will get people paying but it can’t be a ridiculous cost. Has to be reasonable.

  7. Why not just add some Google or Yahoo ads on Twitter or do what Facebook and myspace doing, sell your own ad space

  8. […] Twa-Ching – Twitters Monetization Paths […]

  9. Subscriptions are a perfect revenue model for Twitter. I’d say make the price even higher though. At $10/month I think everyone would be a premium user.

    1. Is there a problem with only getting 10’s of millions of subscribers at $10/month? I don’t see a problem with it. 😉

      1. I don’t see a problem too 🙂 and if they 100M users it will be even more intersting lool

  10. Truthfully – I feel Twitter is a flash in the pan fad, that will die the same type of death Microsoft Bob did years ago!

    Lets be real, having a high number of twitter followers is no different than buying shit traffic to a website.

    If they are not interested – they are useless for ANY $ value, except bragging rights!

    Give me 500 engaged followers who actually read my tweets over 20,000 followers, who follow, just to follow… any day!

    My prediction – Twitter becomes (If its not already) nothing more than “Noise” in the world of marketing and people tune it out like they do every other type of ad out there!

    Oh – don’t forget to follow me…

    1. Dude…you totally hit it on the head. I have more worthless follower then anything else…as far as $$$$$ go..

  11. […] of the many Internet marketing companies, it is a good thing to learn a few things about online Twa-Ching – Twitters Monetization Paths – 03/30/2009 So a couple days ago I wrote about “exec-tweets” and how stupid I […]

  12. Some good point here. I guess twitter would like to work on premium account soon.

  13. […] Twitter’s monetization paths (Via: @danschawbel) […]

  14. I think more API calls is definitely something people would pay to have premium for. A little thing on your profile that shows you’re premium wouldn’t hurt either 🙂

  15. I could see them doing pay for the premium thing but not paying for just using twitter.

  16. If there were paid users, how many actually would signup for it to be a viable tool? I mean the main crowds of 13-24 that they probably want to tap into would not be paying when it seems like Facebook with their update has started to emulate Twitter feed style pages for free.

  17. subscription is the only best solution for monetisation.. but they should work on their search engine too .. there is something there too 🙂 real time result….

  18. A pro account might work, but then you have to define “pro features” – twitter has so few features as of right now it’s bound to be somewhat artificial.

    I think the best biz model for them would essentially be like Aweber – charge based on # of followers.

    0 – 10,000 free
    up to 50,000 $19/month
    over 100,000 $49/month

    something like that

    Brian Armstrong

  19. Free + Premium … great idea. I think $10 is a bit high though. The adult business always seems to figure out pricing things better than most non-adult … you should have a FREE – which is what it is now, then $3.95/month with one or two really great features, and then like you said for $9.95 for more … and then you could setup corporate group plans etc. Back to the $3.95 price – no one will cancel this even when they’re broke.

  20. Further customizing the layout, adding public ratings for tweets, automatic retweeting.. I get where you’re going.

    I really doubt anything a “bought friend” would say on twitter would convert well. People tend to become sceptic if the link between money and information supplied becomes apparent. Specially if half of the information provided by the bought friend is about his own products. Considering the fact you’re on a “social” network and all.

  21. The problem with premium features is that they have jammed so much into twitter already. I agree more API calls would be nice (However it is possible to do it already if you are a developer).

    But the problem may be that they have to take things away from the free user to be able to give to the premium user. Maybe things like premium users only on the global timeline etc.

    1. Dont you hate it when you comment before all your thoughts are down?

      Just been thinking about this while having breakfast. It would be a nice idea to even add these features at say 2 dollars for a few extra features.

      That way they can use the old addage of “Cheaper then a cup of coffee”. Also with it being cheap enough that anyone can do, and even if you were totally out of dollars, you would probably still do it.

      I would also suggest that they add that you can pay by SMS. I can almost gurantee that if they offered a package for “The price of a cup of coffee”. And made it so you could pay by way of SMS. Almost all tweeters would be in on it.

  22. i say I agree with your idea, or what about a Adbrite type system where twitter users optin to allow a tweet per day or maybe if we could select what type of account we have say..i picked travel, blogs and food.

    then advertisers could pay to have a tweet with a url dropped into the a PPC or Pay per tweet 😛

  23. Great ideas. I would certainly buy a Twitter prem account for $10 a month. Wouldn’t want to be left out either!

  24. Twitter has about 12 million users at $10 a pop equal $1.2 Billion in premium account revenue. Shoot Twitter could bail out wall street!

    1. Just nit picking at your numbers there. But assuming that all 12 million people were to even have 100% sign up rate. That would be $120 million dollars not $1.2 billion. Hardly a drop in the bucket for a social network site. Than again even with $120 million in revenue a giant like Google or Microsoft may be interested in offering $5.6 billion for it…

      1. Just nit picking at your numbers there $5.6 billion aquisition based on $120 million revenue (not profit) is well over valued. Company value is normally calculated x5 on annual revenue = $600 million, not even close to $5.6 billion!

    2. Maybe this is their “evil” plan : twitter would continue to offer services to people for free until millions of people join and become addicted to it. Then.. Twitter would suddenly charge for using their service. People would have no choice but to use their premium services because they are addicted to it. Mwuhahahahaha!

      LOL. That’s not going to happen anyway, but a little imagination can get you anywhere. 😀

  25. *Idea* – twitter add-on… add a counter below character count that counts down number of tweets since last link post ie: 10,9,8 or 100,99 or this
    *Idea* – twitter – add-on count down counter on twitter that lowers Spam posts…when you reach 10 tweets then light goes green:

    These would be great premium features!

  26. Yeah as long as whatever “premium” features they introduce don’t break the basic functionality that people have now, or introduce sufficient new functionality that you get excessive stratification happening, I think it could fly. Good ideas, Shoe.

  27. For the typical web user I have noticed that what Facebook has implemented trumps Twitters entire services. The ability to contain comments to specific updates from your buddies is a killer. Twitter seems to be the quick nitty gritty and I doubt people will pay to subscribe to that even if they could put a video up.

    1. There would be a lot of people who would pay, but why can’t they just make money by creating an advertising program like facebook has?

  28. You can use animated gifs, I noticed one yesterday and went arghhh! Just wait til the tweens with glitter graphics discover it.

  29. Certainly seems like they are leaving alot of money of the table Shoe. The Premium offer you explained has much more merit and room for growth. They have zero ads with the amount of traffic they receive that would be a good place to start.

  30. the idea of having some premium and free accounts on Twitter would be good, I’ll agree with that one

  31. Another new idea from you Shoe! Great post! I can say that twitter can really indeed may increase visit in one’s blog but only if it catches their attention. And with a blogger who has tons of followers and tons other following, then isn’t it confusing? A lot of updates is flashing in the monitor.

  32. - Learn to Make Money online from People who have succeed Making money Online » John Chow Vs. Shoemaker Vs. Jason Calanis on Making Money from Twitter. says:

    […] money back. What about if he charge them ten dollars for his service? But is this calculation true? Shoemaker has another answer. There is no doubt Jason will has millions of followers, but will they actually […]

  33. I agree, it’s not ethic to buy friendship. People following you because they trust you, right?

  34. Those r some real good ideas, I don’t like the idea of letting premium users use animated gifs, but the idea of offering premium accounts is something twitter should seriously consider. I don’t think their ads on the profile pages are gonna make them serious money but premium accounts might.

  35. […] Twa-Ching – Twitters Monetization Paths […]

  36. Regards feature #3 I haven’t check it but, Tony Robbins posted 27 twitter apps tinyurl and this was one of them! You decide.

    Bubble Tweet – This unique application lets you post a short video message that pops up on your Twitter profile in a bubble shaped player. You can personally introduce yourself and/or your business to anyone who visits your profile.

    I use a twitter plugin on my site | Create your own Mastermind Groups

  37. Regarding feature #3 Tony Robbins posted on twitter 27 apps and one was this, you decide.

    Bubble Tweet – This unique application lets you post a short video message that pops up on your Twitter profile in a bubble shaped player. You can personally introduce yourself and/or your business to anyone who visits your profile.

  38. That was actually a smart idea I think. But anyway I wonder why twitter turned down calacanis offer. it looks decent anyways…

  39. There would be lots of people who would most definitely pay for those types of features.

  40. Interesting stats about your follower click throughs. A five percent rate is not bad. But if doubling your followers through a viral marketing campaign didn’t maintain that percentage then it seems like going the more “natural” route is better.

  41. Astonishing tid-bit in this excerpt from: “Twa-Ching - Twitters Monetization Paths - ShoeMoney®” « Mind Hacks, Life Hacks, Personal Development says:

    […] 1) Give me unlimited or more API calls.… via […]

  42. It’s a good idea for Twitter to make some cash there. How could they turn down the offer of $0.5mill there?

  43. These are very INTERESTING ideas you have given to Twitter, Jeremy. I sure hope someone buys them and yes – they are better than the one propounded by Twitter so far.

  44. i agree with you shoe 100% but i think, recently twitter is said to have been trying to come with ways to monetize their platform.

    and i must say got hooked on twitter until such time that our network administrator on our office cut me off from it by blocking the site, twitter actually has not really significantly increased traffic back to your blog as attested by many..

    but i just wonder why twitter is so addictive? LOL

  45. My thinking is that none of your suggestions would work…since it would cost them money to implement which effects profits.

    My suggestion would be site sponsorship – like Twitter is Sponsored by Oprah Winfrey Show….

    Or another idea would just be donations from users.

  46. […] Twa-Ching – Twitters Monetization Paths […]

  47. I like the premium account offers. I’ve actually been wondering if they’re going to do this anytime soon. I hope so!

  48. […] da un’altra riflessione, anche Jeremy Schoemaker una manciata di giorni fa si è chiesto quali siano le strade ancora aperte per una possibile monetizzazione del […]

  49. Will a subscription model drive people to free Twitter knock off? You know they’re coming.

  50. Well you have requested some good and useful things frm Twitter. But do you really think that animation kind of avataar is really fruitful to any one ??

  51. When you have more Twitter Followers, you can market to them and make money. Also, they are more people on your database!!

  52. Hi,

    Great article! I’m sure there are even more options to monetize Twitter. But what if you don’t necessarily wanna use Twitter as a marketing tool which to monetize.

    You can use Twitter to so much more and by doing so you will also increase the # of followers.

    Check out my blog post where I explain in detail how I used Twitter to get help and also to double the # of followers in just 3 days…

    Remi Vladuceanu

  53. I have seen some animated avatars already…
    Can I add another couple of features:
    1) Group DMs
    2) Scheduled tweets, (I know tweetlater does it but it would be nice directly from twitter if I wanted too…)

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