March 21 2009

Twitter Is 3-Years-Old… When Does It Start Making Money?

twitter_logoThe popular micro blogging service Twitter turned 3-years-old today.

I had no clue that today was the third anniversary of the service (I have enough trouble keeping track of my own important dates!) until I read it over at Mashable.  Considering some of the rough patches they have had with down time over the years, it is amazing that the service has grown to an estimated 6 million users.  The service seems to be growing each day, and attracting more and more mainstream attention with celebrities jumping on left and right, mentions in the media and so on. The service is everywhere these days it seems.  Even in the doctor’s office yesterday, the doctor was asking me what it was.

While I use the service on a regular basis (@seanpaune), I constantly worry for its future.  To date they have still not monetized the service in any way, and their only money seems to come out of endless rounds of venture capital financing.  With the economy in the stat it is currently, it is hard to imagine that VCs are going to continue to be so free with those dollars for much longer.  Considering the number of ways you can access Twitter (text, API calls, web interface, etc), they have to burn through an enormous amount of bandwidth, something that is never cheap.

fail whaleSo, three years on, where is the monetization plan, Twitter?  Why aren’t you at least doing some text ads of some type?  I think if they were tastefully done, something that would not be that difficult in my opinion, I don’t think you would run into too much user resistance to the idea.  We want Twitter to keep moving along and existing, if it means ads, it means ads, we honestly won’t be that upset with you!  Heck, I think we might all welcome it as it would mean that we can continue to enjoy your service!  And we all know what happens when we have to go without Twitter for too long

Any business making it past its first year is always something to celebrate, but I honestly worry if Twitter will be here for number four… and number five… and so on.  Even if you don’t want to implement the plan yet, could you at least tell your user community, “Yes, we have one, and we will begin it when the time is right.”  For now, we don’t even know if a plan exists!  It’s not that we want you to spill secrets, it’s your business and you shouldn’t compromise it, but come on, just give us some sort of reassurance as to what the future is like for your service.  The community is investing a lot of time and energy into you, and I would hate to think that we are doing all of this and will wake one morning to you just not being there.

Barring all of that… HAPPY THIRD BIRTHDAY!… now go make some money!

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