Twitter to offer premium commercial accounts

26 Mar 2009

Recently, it seems as though half of the Twitterverse have been tweeting about the service itself, wondering how the fast-growing and extremely popular micro-blogging site is going to generate revenue.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone today told Reuters that he thinks commercial bodies will pay for a premium Twitter experience, if they can get more value from it this way.

However, he did not elaborate on what kind of enhancements paid account holders would receive.

Currently there are thousands of commercial entities on Twitter, from the likes of Dell and Google to small local businesses, all hoping to engage with customers and brand-build in a more informal and personal manner.

Today’s news follows recent speculation that Twitter was looking into this commercial area, after Stone gave an interview with a UK publication in which he stated that the existing service would never demand payment, but that it was looking into a pay model for added extras.

Although Twitter is a mere three years old, its fast and unexpected growth curve over the past year has led to both a spurned US$500m acquisition offer from social-networking giant Facebook in November 2008, and a recent round of venture-capital funding estimated at about US$35m on top of previous funding of US$20m.

Recently, Twitter’s role as a communications tool has also begun to evolve, with people starting to talk about the service as a tool for real-time search, as well as a platform for exchanging conversations and information between people.

What this added search element will mean for Twitter’s development is hard to say, but, for now, Stone said that a commercial product development manager has been brought on board for a product or service that will be introduced before 2009 is out.

By Marie Boran