Dear Twitter, I Want to Pay for my Account

Twitter Suspended

Paying for Twitter is in the Best Interest of the Twitter Community

When Twitter suspended my account this week (while on vacation) I was shocked. At first, I didn’t believe it. I almost denied it. But, it slowly sank in that I was without the ability to post (tweet) comments and links to articles, or reply to other’s tweets.

I didn’t realize how dependent I had become on Twitter until my account was suspended. So, I turned to Facebook to ask people who follow me on Twitter to tweet about my suspension. After all, it must be a mistake. I’m not a spammer. And, I certainly didn’t violate their TOS. My hope (fantasy) was that if enough people tweeted about @berniebay being unfairly suspended, that somehow Twitter would notice and reinstate me.

Once I calmed down I learned through a blog article on Mashable that Twitter admitted to a human error that apparently suspended numerous accounts and they were working to restore them. Yes, that gave me some comfort. At least I know I didn’t inadvertently committed some Twitter sin that warranted my suspension.

But, then the light bulb went on. I am so frustrated that I can’t use Twitter that I would be willing to pay for it!

One of my Twitter friends, Peter Rad made the comment on Facebook: “remember that Twitter is free and you have no right to complain when it fails you.” Peter you are correct! Peter also is of the opinion that if or when Twitter starts to charge a fee the uproar will be so loud it will be deafening. I think it depends on their pricing model.

So, here is my proposed pricing model for Twitter usage.

Individuals:

The first 500 users are free. This allows the casual newbies to try it out with no barrier to entry. After 500 followers the monthly fees start. The thresholds I propose are:

501 to 2000
2001 to 3000
3001 to 4000
4001 to 5000
5,001 to 7,500
7,501 to 10,000
10,001 to 15,000
15,001 to 25,000
25,001 to 50,000
50,001 to 100,000
100,000 plus

The monthly fee at each threshold obviously would increase, but until the threshold gets to 50,000 it should not exceed $50 per month. One mathematical approach is a penny per follower with the first 500 free. At 2,000 followers that’s $20 per month. Perhaps above 50,000 followers the per follower fee would drop below a penny to keep the cost reasonable for the Twitter superstars. I also propose a cap so even a Twitter mega superstar would never pay more than a ceiling price.

I like this pricing model for two reasons. First, it provides some revenue to Twitter so support tickets can actually get a response. Second, it provides some accountability. Now, they have no accountability because their service is free. And, third it will dissuade some of the rif raf from spamming us with offers to “grow our Twitter following and make a zillion dollars.”

Brands

Twitter should charge all brands a one time $99 fee. That’s a reasonable amount that any serious brand can afford. A similar fee schedule should apply to brands as the one described above.

Whether or not my model is the right pricing model for Twitter is not my point. No business on the planet can survive without revenue. It’s long overdue. As a Twitter “customer” I have no recourse for my undeserved suspension because I’m not a paying customer.

Dear Twitter – I want to become a paying customer. It’s time!

Would you pay for your Twitter account? How much is it worth to you?

@berniebay

About the Author
Bernie is founder and CEO of Find and Convert and leads the agency’s strategy. Bernie is a consummate content producer on digital marketing insights and best practices and hosts the Social Business Engine digital TV show and podcast.

12 Comments to Dear Twitter, I Want to Pay for my Account

  1. by Jim Johnson

    On July 10, 2009 at 6:58 am

    I would pay for Twitter – but only if Twitter would disallow the "automatic follower" software. I have a lot of followers that aren't following me because of what I write but because they want me to follow them.

    Moreover, it might change the "You follow me and I'll follow you" model that helped get Twitter off the ground.

    It would probably be better to charge a flat fee regardless of the number of followers. The fee could then be used to develop "premium" services only available to paying members. (Not sure what they are, since Twitter seems willing to let the community develop free services).

    Twitter could still be free for most people… but membership should have privileges beyond getting more followers.

  2. by Bernie

    On July 10, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Jim,
    I like the premium approach as well. I just want them to become a legitimate business with customer service. Let the free market economy work out the pricing details. Just give me some customer service!

  3. by Justin Freid

    On July 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    While I would be willing to pay for Twitter I could never see myself paying $20 per month. I think a flat fee would be reasonable – say $5.99 per month?

    Maybe Twitter could develop "Corporate Accounts" for large companies like Comcast who use Twitter for customer service. Keep the normal everyday users at a lower monthly fee and large conglomerates paying a larger sum.

  4. by Bernie

    On July 11, 2009 at 8:49 am

    There is definitely more value to brands. There is speculation that Twitter's revenue model will initially focus on brands. That makes sense.

    I still want to pay for my Twitter account though. I have no recourse now for the injustice of my suspended account. I'm not currently a customer. None of us are. They can do anything they want and we can't do a darn thing about it.

    I hope it happens soon so they can improve their customer service.

  5. by Bernie

    On July 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    My Twitter account was reinstated early evening on the 11th. I still feel it's time for Twitter to charge for accounts even if a very nominal fee to income to fund customer service.

    My unwarranted account suspension can happy to anyone with little recourse. All I ask is for some reasonable customer service, a la Zappos.

  6. by Brindey

    On July 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Hello!
    That happened to me while managing a non profit twitter account with a previous agency.

    Twitter Inc
    529 Bryant Street #402
    San Francisco, CA 94107
    (415) 896-2008

    In case you ever get suspended again, you can leave them a message and they respond faster than the traditional few days.

  7. by Dianna Kersey

    On July 13, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I don't know if I would pay for a personal twitter account, but to support my business would be a different story. Perhaps that would filter out the riff raff and make it a more legitimate business networking tool that it has become.

    Remember twitter began as a "What are you doing now?" kinda thing, it wasn't meant for marketing, but for just sharing your life. We have helped it evolved and now it is a powerhouse for social communication and building online relationships.

  8. by Bernie

    On July 14, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Brindey,
    Thanks for the contact info. I will go that route if it happens again…

    Dianna,
    A lot of people have expressed your sentiment. But, I think it's inevitable for brands to pay for Twitter. Maybe individuals won't but at least brands will.

  9. by Brandon Mount

    On July 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Bernie, If twitter _were_ to start charging, a groundswell of already extant services would simply make twitter obsolete. The nature of the open web is not going to make charging for what is essentially a one to many RTS instant messaging service a product people will pay for. Sure, certain orgs and bloggers will pay for it, just like people paid for compuserve et al back in the day, but it would not be viable long term. IMHO of course. Nice to meet you the other day, we look forward to more discussions. Time to jump in the pool with the family. Another sweltering day in Tampa…
    B

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