Maybe It’s Time For Twitter To Go “Freemium”
Twitter is now known for going down without warning, leaving Twitter-addicts moaning that they feel disconnected and the world is coming to an end.
But the complaining brings up an issue that bugs me – it’s modus operandi for new web services to be free, initially. Free drives early user adoption, which is great.
I just wonder if this wealth of free stuff is creating digital cheapskates. Many users now expect things to be free and as soon as they have to pay for stuff, they jump to another free competitor. As a result, creating a sticky service that gets critical mass is very difficult with all the free options out there, and designing something that’s so sticky people will pay for it is another matter altogether.
One answer is the “freemium” model. You suck users in with the free stuff, but then slap on a paid option for more features. Flickr does it.
So here’s a friendly suggestion: if Twitter is so necessary to your communications and state of mind that you would break out in a cold sweat if it went down, volunteer your wallet for a monthly fee. Let Twitter to go “freemium.”
Twitter would then have a revenue stream and enough cash to hire some talented developers and invest in scaling and reliability. Or, at the very least, they would have much more incentive to keep the service running after everyone handed them their personal cash.
Otherwise, if you’re not wiling to pay for Twitter, I’m less sympathetic to expectations of 24/7 service. You get what you pay for, and I don’t think Twitter is a charity. There are any number of services that we pay for on a monthly basis (electricity, water, cell phone, cable, Internet), and nobody expects them to be free. And they still go down from time to time.