Twitter should charge companies to be recommended to users, but the consumers themselves should not be forced to pay for the service, according to Chris Anderson.
Speaking at SXSWi, Anderson – who as editor-in-chief of Wired coined the phrase 'the long tail' and has written a book called Free, about how the internet can be financed – discussed how Twitter can move from popular to successful.
"Twitter is rich in reputation and poor in money and in the old days, like before September of last year, that's not a problem," said Anderson.
"Then you have options like raising more money based on your reputation, selling [the company] to someone who likes your reputation and audience or drawing advertising against it.
"Now, the first two of those are off the table and it's just not the time to maximise your advertising revenue," he added
"So the ideal is now actually making money…obviously not just throwing banner ads against it because that's inappropriate and culturally discordant but I think Jason Calacanis made a good recommendation the other day where you can pay to be recommended.
"Jason suggested $250,000 dollars to be one of the top 10 recommended, I'm not sure about that price but it's an interesting model."
Charge the company
Anderson agreed that companies would then have to be active in ensuring that their Tweets added value to the follower.
"Obviously it's not like advertising where you pay to put a banner out there and hope people click – you actually have to follow through with a Twitter persona.
"On the question of should consumers pay, Twitter has chosen rightly to go the open route and to let other people create the clients - some of which are paid for and some which are not
"I think this is fantastic but what that means is direct consultation is happening by other people and not by Twitter.
"For Twitter I think [they should] charge companies in some way. It doesn't take much and then they can build from there.
"I think Twitter decided to be open and it's kind of committed itself to being free for consumers."