Twitter just tossed a grenade into the room. One that’s causing developers everywhere to scatter for cover. This grenade took the form of a blog post detailing the upcoming changes to the Twitter API. There are many controversial changes, but perhaps the most shocking is that all Twitter apps will now be capped at 100,000 users. If a Twitter app currently has more than 100,000 users, they will be allowed to double their user base, but no more. This (and the other changes) means that popular Twitter clients will likely get the axe. Soon the only way to browse through Twitter may be on Twitter.com.
There are many different rumors about why Twitter is doing this. Many think that Twitter will soon be showing ads in an attempt to turn a profit. If you are using a Twitter client, however, you wouldn’t see these ads and so Twitter needs to find a way to pull everyone back to Twitter.com.
This possibility got me thinking. What if Twitter charged for access? What if you were able to read tweets for free, but actually tweeting out required a paid subscription? Would people pay? Or would they switch to another service?
Twitter will likely hit 250 million users by the end of the year. If the subscription fee was $10 a year and only 10% of those people paid, Twitter would earn $250 million.
I’ve got to be honest. I’m not sure whether I’d pay or not. On one hand, I enjoy taking part in social media and I understand that Twitter needs to make money to pay for servers, employees, etc. On the other hand, there are free alternatives (Facebook, Google+, etc). I guess if the fee were small enough, I would pay, but if they set the price tag too high, I’d bid a tearful farewell to Twitter.
How about you? Would you pay for the ability to Tweet? If so, how much do you think you’d pay?
NOTE: The money image above is by Kamil Koszuta from OpenClipArt.org.