Twitter launches paid-for service

Twitter adds ads and paid-for accounts this month, looking for ways to monetize its popular microblogging service
Twitter adds ads and paid-for accounts this month, looking for ways to monetize its popular microblogging service

Twitter is offering a range of extended services to those members of the so-called Twitterati that want to use its service for business purposes.

Companies can now pay a fee to receive the enhanced version of the social networking tool.

"We think there will be opportunities to provide services to commercial entities that help them get even more value out of Twitter. If these services are valuable to companies, we think they may want to pay for them," Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, told Reuters.

Tweeting gone mainstream

Mainstream media stories about Twitter and the joys/life-sapping woes (delete according to POV!) of 'tweeting' have been rarely out of the UK's tabloids and broadsheets of late, giving the three-year old service a massive shot-in-the-arm.

Twitter's Web site had more than 7 million unique visitors in February, compared to 475,000 in February last year, according to Nielsen Online.

Facebook's recent make-over has been likened to (and linked to the success of) the micro-blogging phenomenon.

Reuters reports that: "While Twitter initially planned to begin seeking revenue in 2010, the company recently decided to accelerate the schedule and find ways to monetize its service this year."

"We have lots of time for experimentation with regard to revenue generation, so we'll probably be trying a few different things this year," noted Twitter boss, Biz Stone.

Spoof that, Twitter!

Meanwhile, Brian Briggs' fake tech news site BBSpot takes an hilarious pop at the microblogging site, claiming that Twitter Premium accounts will come in four tiers: Sparrow, Dove, Owl and Eagle.

The details of the accounts are as follows:

* Sparrow ($5/month) – Users get 145 character limit, 5 extra random followers.

* Dove ($15/month) – Users get 160 character limit, 25 extra random followers, 1 random celebrity follower, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" T-shirt.

* Owl ($50/month) – Users get 250 character limit, 100 extra random followers, 2 random celebrity followers, 30 minutes on recommended list, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" hoodie.

* Eagle ($250/month) – Users get 500 character limit, 1000 extra random followers, 3 celebrity followers of their choice, 5 hours on recommended list each month, Twitter Concierge for Tweeting while user is asleep or busy (and more), auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" tuxedo, custom "Fail Whale" page when service is down.

The spoof continues: "Users in any tier will be able to purchase an EmbellishTwit add-on for $100/year, which directs tweets to a well-educated offshore employee who will embellish tweets. For example, 'Just had a whole wheat bagel and coffee for breakfast,' becomes 'Just got in from clubbing all night and Heidi Klum is spreading brie on a baguette just flown in on the Concord for my breakfast.'"

Back in the real world, Microsoft is sponsoring a project called ExecTweets is designed to allow the public "easy access" to top business execs (and, no doubt, pile loads more work onto their already stressed-out PAs!).

Adam Hartley