Would You Pay For Twitter?

So for some of you out there, you are probably wondering why the Twitter update box is the last thing you see on the right. Twitter has been having scalability issues lately, so thousands of blogs (like my own) have been showing a big blank space.

I’m not particularly upset about it, because it’s a free service, but reading some of the updates from friends, they are.

Well, what do you expect? You aren’t paying for it.

We should never complain about a free service. We should complain about stuff that we pay for (i.e. software). It’s like talking about how much MySpace’s or Facebook’s user interface doesn’t support the user. Of course it doesn’t support the user, the site is for the advertisers.

That begs the question — would you pay for Twitter? Those servers and text messages cost money, so someone’s paying for it. And that’s the big question most of the “free” services have: how do you make enough money to keep the doors open without pissing off your constituency or driving traffic to competitors, some of which have figured out a way to be smaller but more profitable.

Read: Google Maps vs. MapQuest.

Google Maps is sort of free to a certain level, because advertisements display and they don’t charge to use the API unless you generate a ton of traffic like Yelp (note to developers, add that to your business plan).

MapQuest isn’t free, and they make more money even though there isn’t nearly the traffic as Google.

Free to the user isn’t a business model in all cases, and in some cases, a more usable product is actually a less profitable product.

Honestly, I’d pay a couple of bucks a month to keep twitter going because I like the idea of it being a web service. There really is no advertising model there, because the messages are so short, and since it’s mainly a web service, it shouldn’t have too much advertising.

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