The announcement came from the company’s San Francisco offices where two of the three co-founders were present. Newly returned Executive Chairman, Jack Dorsey, said it was a “hard” decision but it was necessary for the future of the company.
The site which is rumoured to have racked up a staggering US$350-million in venture capital has been under pressure from its investors to generate more income on the site.
“This is not something we wanted to do but unfortunately we have been under a great deal of pressure. Twitter is a business and it seems it is important for businesses to make a certain amount of money in order to survive,” Dorsey said in a statement.
The new system of paying to tweet will apparently be implemented at the end of May to give users time to “adjust to the idea”. The system will work very much like the Facebook‘s credit system — users will be able to buy certain number of credits for a certain number of tweets.
The first five tweets of every day will be free, thereafter users will begin paying on a sliding scale. Silicon Valley blog sites are speculating that heavy tweeters could be in for as much as US$10 per month. There also may be a “follower discount”, where users with large amounts of followers apply for an as yet unspecified discount.
“We are trying to make the transition as smooth as possible and very uncomplicated. Users can buy 10 credits for example which will give them a set number of tweets. Once they have used up all their tweets, they will be prompted to buy more. Users are able to buy via text message,” Dorsey added.
A week before the new system is implemented all users will be prompted to start purchasing ‘tweet credits’. The first million users to change to the new system will be given 20 free “loyalty” credits. Users will also be able to purchase ‘tweet bundles’ ranging from 100 to 1000 monthly tweets. One tweet credit will cost US$0.40 and bundles will be sold at discounted prices.
Twitter’s 2011 revenue is estimated at US$150 million as its advertising platform continues to grow, but investors are growing anxious, keen to see some return.
Its main funder recently threatened to “pull the plug”, saying: “Everyone is going on about Twitter this and Twitter that. Everyone is carrying that turquoise, blue “t” everywhere I look. But where’s the money? Show me the money? Show me the money! I want my money back. Tech stocks are a bottomless pit. I should have invested in a cellphone network or facial care products.”
*This was an April Fool’s Day article by Memeburn. Twitter has no intention of charging you for tweets as far as we know. Hope you enjoyed the joke. — Ed