Posted November 19, 2009 6:18 pm by with 8 comments

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Twitter Bird GoofySpeaking at a Nesta panel this morning in London, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone stated that long-rumored premium corporate accounts for the most popular microblogging service will come by year’s end.

Although business accounts have long been a source of speculation for the site’s monetization plans, it’s not true that all business accounts will be charged for using the service. Instead, the premium accounts will feature additional analytics data and enhanced features.

Back in August, they said they were in the first phases of rolling out these accounts.

Also on the panel, celebritwit Stephen Fry criticized the move. According to Clickz:

He . . . said he didn’t intend to be “anti-commercial,” but that if Twitter becomes “annoying to users” and there was “a sense of being guided by a big corporate brother,” the company risks alienating its user base.

Which, of course, is a good point. Fry also asked about the possibility of display ads (specifically annoying banners), which Stone dismissed: “the plan has always been to create a [revenue] model that would be native to Twitter.”

What do you think? Are you interested in a premium account? Do you think Twitter will ever cave on display ads?

  • I run the corporate account for the company I work for. I’m sure the the cost of an account with extra features like analytics could be very easily justified without my feeling that we’re selling out. Specifcally, I’d love some data that we could tie in directly to our Google Analytics package since, right now, tracking traffic from Twitter is really, really clunky. As a user on a corporate account, that certainly wouldn’t be annoying to non-corporate users.

    Some of my best friends are socmed-heads. Heck, I am one myself. But, our brains tend to go to the worst case scenario when the words ‘business model’ and ‘revenue streams’ are used in reference to Twitter. And I think this model is a viable revenue stream, because it’s non-instrusive – it would just be a reporting tool, not a pop up or some crappy flashing animated GIF telling you to ‘buy buy buy’. As long as they keep things non-intrusive, and allow for the sanctity of content sharing among chosen peers, they’ll do fine. And if they allow a company like the one I work for to be able to more easily measure success, then so much the better.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Twitter already has display ads — in Japan. They have since day 1.

    Stone’s dismissal that “the plan has always been to create a [revenue] model that would be native to Twitter” spin? Perhaps the company already thoroughly tested display ads, and already know that it wouldn’t generate enough revenue.

    Don’t you think the CTR of a link in a tweet others READ would be higher than the CTR of a display ad they’re ignoring or have software to block?

    My forecast: the Twitter team will 1. enable corporate accounts with analytics and 2. will enable tweets from corporate accounts to display on the native Twitter interface to users that do not follow that corporate account. I believe the analytics will be through acquisition (like Twitter’s search funcionality). And that the “tweetAds” will show up in the sidebar (like they did with their “definitions”) or in the footer (though this placement likely wouldn’t generate enough revenue).
    .-= Glenn Friesen´s last blog ..LinkRoll: Interesting Reading for October 22, 2009 =-.

  • Those of us using Twitter for business purposes would jump at the chance to get enhanced features! I’m sure it will also signal a separation among those who take the platform seriously as a business tool and those who are just dabbling.

    BTW, @Twitalyzer is a fairly robust Twitter analytics tool that already integrates with Google Analytics and and features a FireFox plug-in so you can see the measure of influence people in your tweetstream already have (if they have previously been analyzed in Twitalyzer).

    Social profiles:

  • @CarriBugbee Thank you for mentioning Twitalyzer

    @Rob J: The integration with GA can be found here:


    — Jeff

  • I could see this one coming. Marketers who use Twitter will have no other option but to pay the premium.

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