This is something I pointed out the other day: there’ll always be a market for instant blogging services such as Meshly, Jaiku, Tumblr and Twitter, though at some point they have to monetize. Download Squad has outlined six ways that Twitter can earn money. Evan Williams, the founder (and who founded Blogspot), offered a couple of those suggestions. Here they are below, with my own comments:
(1) Twitter Pro. Paid service, with lots of addtional features. Very cool.
(2) Merch. T-shirts, etc. I’ll pass – rather boring logo. If they come up with a graphic, maybe so. I’m not a big “t-shirt with logo” type of person. That doesn’t mean this won’t work.
(3) Biz. Twitter for business? Hmm, very interesting. This could work for employees to stay in touch. But then it’d be up against established players like Lotus Notes’ IM and others. Pimp Your Work offers some other ways to use Twitter for business.
(4) Forums. Ad-supported. Really? Would you spend time in a Twitter forum rather than just tweet? Seems odd and time-consuming in comparison. On the other hand, it’s hard to “talk” to another member if they are not one of your followers. I follow 27 people but only have 10 followers. That’s fine, but if one of the other 17 tweets something I’d like to reply to, they’ll never see it. Forums might work. I should point out, however, that I do have other means of contacting these people, but a quick tweet in reply is more appropriate than an email.
(5) Ads on site. Obviously, with a great volume of users, this will pay off. Will it pay off enough? Will current users get pissed and quit, maybe move to Jaiku, etc.? Probably, but that’s normal. I never “get” those people who think everything should be free for their taking.
(6) Biz, part 2. Charge a fee for marketing/commercial use. There are a few sites, such as Woot, who are doing that. I don’t know if they’re paying, but since this suggestion (and #5) are from Evan Williams, they might soon be.
(7) Sell it. This from a reader in the comments. Of course, someone is waiting, no doubt, to scoop up Twitter and monetize the traffic.