Would You Pay for Twitter if You Had to?

What Content is Worth Paying For?

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[ Social Media]

Update: It appears there are some people out there that would pay to use Twitter if they had to. MG Siegler points to a survey from film critic Roger Ebert who would pay for Twitter, along with about 20% of his followers. Make of that what you will.

Original Article: The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism has released a study (pdf) this week looking at the impact the web has on Americans, and among the nearly 200 issues explored is that of paying for online services and content.

Believe it or not, most don’t want to pay. For example, the study found that 49% of respondents have used free micro-blogs like Twitter, but "zero percent" said they would be willing to pay to use them.

Would you pay to use Twitter if it charged a fee? Let us know.

Jeff Cole on paid content"Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting Internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free," said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the school.

"Twitter has no plans to charge its users, but this result illustrates, beyond any doubt, the tremendous problem of transforming free users into paying users," added Cole. "Online providers face major challenges to get customers to pay for services they now receive for free."

Obviously this is an obstacle some newspaper publishers are hoping to overcome. Last week, reports surfaced that News Corp’s The Times’ site visits fell to a third of what they were when it began requiring users to pay.

"Internet users can obtain content in three ways: they can steal it, or pay for it, or accept advertising on the Web pages they view," said Cole. "Users express strong negative views about online advertising, but they still prefer seeing ads as an alternative to paying for content. Consumers really want free content without advertising, but ultimately they understand that content has to be paid for — one way or another."

WikiLeaks has also shown how far the web can go when it comes to free, important content. By making over 90,000 Afghanistan war-related documents available to the public, readers are treated to an escalating plethora of free analysis to choose from (not to mention the raw source material).

What content is worth paying for? Tell us what you think.

Would You Pay for Twitter if You Had to?
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  • http://www.likelihoodofconfusion.com Ron Coleman

    The survey result is patently misleading and cannot be true in the absolute way in which it was reported.

    I think, in fact, a lot of people would actually pay to make the whole thing go away — as long as it went away for everyone.

    But in terms of those who use Twitter, not for mindless chatter but to develop and nurture online presences, “brands,” and communities clustered around areas of topical interest, it is not credible that number would be zero percent, especially if their competition were using it.

  • http://www.4d-media.ca Barry A Ross

    I would definitely not pay for something like Twitter

  • http://www.webdesignkc.co.uk Jim Siebenberg

    The thought of Twitter adding a paywall is hilarious (not it would ever happen). I could kind of understand it for those who use it in a business context, to build their brand for example, but not for personal use.

    I mean, who would pay to read the latest status updates from Danny De Vito? I know more about that guy than i do about myself.

  • http://www.asian-dove.com Guest Wes Roettger

    I have a free web site, Advertising is hard to find for a new web site, I’m at a point where I must start charging. We at http://www.asian-dove.com have done checks with all of the members on the site, And most of them say there are too many sites out there that are free, so why should they pay for a service they have been getting free. I’m a small web site less than a year old with about 400 members. But T think it is the same. The percentage of people that would leave would be the same. Why pay for twitter when Facebook is still free
    Wes Roettger

  • http://www.merlinsltd.com John Burns

    Not worth it i would definitely not pay for Twitter

  • http://www.kinguvdastreet.com Urban Clothing

    I would definitely not pay a fee to use twitter. I don

  • http://www.worldtravelingartist.com/about Alexander

    Of course I wouldn’t pay. They should pay me!

  • http://realtrafficsource.com/ts.php Rick Hanson

    Agree with most of the comments here: Would definitely not pay for twitter. Tweets can barely be counted as content.

  • http://www.syndicat.com Niels Dettenbach

    The idea and success of twitter was to offer a “cost free” or “less cost” mobile IM alternative to SMS. On one hand SMS is getting cheaper and cheaper, there still are open and free IM protocols like XMMP / Jabber, IRC and many others for which more and more mobile users get free applications for their phones.

    If users need to save bandwidth and battery ressources they can get IM/SM client services by more and more such providers (like “Nimbuzz” o.o.).

    The “social component” of twitter is not worth to use or to pay for anyone and for such users facebook – the current SM leader – and possibly others overtakes that part.

    Not at least,
    email in many cases is much more flexible and a widely spread standard too.

    So, twitter will get forgotten within the next several years as other commercial overhyped services in the past are not know anymore by most IP users.

    If there are really users who want to pay for twittering – they would pay for air in bottles too…



  • http://www.jocurile.us alex

    When you can pay for a webhost and build your own twitter, which is actually free for you/

  • http://cakeblast.com Larry H.

    I was not an early adopter of twitter because I saw it as a glorified chat room. I use it now because now that millions of people use it, it is another way to engage thousands of targeted followers.

    However, if Twitter went away, I could see another service taking over. In fact, if somebody developed a Twitter-like application with a few extra features and better search capabilities, I could see Twitter going the way of MySpace. Twitter can post a few ads to become profitable, but once again, I think too many ads hurt MySpace as much as anything.

  • http://jimmydoremi.blogspot.com Jimmy Ng

    I’ve not get any effective results using twiter so I definitely not going to pay to use it if required.

  • http://www.topelectricguitarbrands.com topelectricguitar

    Pay to use twitter?…..no, I don’t think so.

  • http://www.origamidelight.com Nicolas Prudhon

    Twitter doesn’t provide any feature that is worth paying for – that is not already available for free.

    In fact most of the applications that have been developed by third parties to enhance Twitter are ofter far superior (and free) as to what Twitter themselves provide.

    There are countless social networking platform superior to Twitter and still free.

    If Twitter becomes a paid service, it will only end up by having all its users leaving except for the few who use it to spam their MLM ads and never read what is posted on Twitter.

    In many instances, I found using Twitter impractical, the only reason why my business is using it is because it is – currently – popular and people expect us to have one. Now, if that service was to become a paid one as it currently is, I would know pursue further with Twitter.

  • Guest

    I might consider paying for Twitter if it actually worked more consistently. I’m not going to pay to see a blue whale on my screen.

  • http://www.yourmealticket.co.uk/ Yourmealticket

    Twitter doesn’t offer a service valuable enough to warrant a charge. Again, like a lot of comments here, we use it because at the moment, primarily because a great deal of the people who might use our site, use Twitter, and so it’s a nice way to engage with them. But it’s little more than a glorified message board (as someone has already suggested), which you could probably set-up on your own server with free scripts or tools anyway. It’s what we’d do if Twitter charged: move our content on to a blog server we’d code for ourselves (free of fail whales) and host it ourselves. But for now, it’s free, it’s there, people use it, and so we’ll carry on using it. The craze in Tweeting might just all blow over in twelve months and we’ll be wondering why we ever made a fuss of it in the first place. Who knows?

  • http://www.matweller.com Mat Weller

    To answer the question, no, I would not pay for Twitter. Ever. It’s an extra and doesn’t have any inherent value in the function of my life. Besides, the next free thing would be up before they had the plug completely out of the wall.

    The fact is, all online media — be they pure-plays or traditional media making the crossover — needs to realize the money is the same place it has always been: advertising. Twitter should charge all businesses that use it for marketing the same way the newspapers do for ad space. Online newspapers should charge for space on their pages. If they can make enough money to survive, then they must have a quality product. If not, so sorry, welcome to the very definition of capitalism. You should have made a more sell-able product. Don’t let the door smack your backside too hard.

    The core of the problem is that online marketers have gone too long getting everything for free, and it’s time to start paying for that space. Twitter wasn’t meant for marketing. The users don’t want businesses there. Therefore businesses should be paying to be there. Same goes for eBay. Same goes for Craigslist. It’s not the users that have been freeloading, it’s the marketers.

  • Guest

    Nope, if not free, then goodbye, it’s not worth paying for

  • A

    No not really. Some people abuse it to no end with senseless stuff. I honestly haven’s found a good use for it yet. So, bye bye to them.

  • http://www.jocuri12.com/jocuri/jocuri-mario.html Jocuri Mario

    for me twitter is a freak social network

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