Over on Gigaom there is a post ranting on about the problems Twitter faces. Om tells us that the Twitter issues are caused by basic architectural flaws (not my area but difficult to argue against this one). Om explains the problem using Robert Scoble as an example;

to put Scoble and his Tweets in context, let’s assume for a minute that he always has 25,000 followers and he sent them 12,000 updates which are all 140 characters long, the maximum size allowed by Twitter. Again, hypothetically speaking, assuming each update is 100 bytes, then 12,000 updates generated used up 30 GB of data. (12000 updates * 100 bytes)* 25,000 = 30000000000 (30 GB)

Om then decides the best way to solve this issue is for Twitter to move to a freemium model where they charge heavy users – Om suggests that;

Twitter should charge Scoble, Leo, [Om], Michael Arrington and anyone else who has more than 100 friends and followers. How about something simple? $10 a month for 1,000 subscribers. 25,000 subscribers means someone like Scoble should be paying them around $250 a month

Let’s take it a step further. Twitter should limit people to 500 free messages a month. Any more should come in a bucket of, say, 1,000 messages for $10. Businesses like Comcast that want to use the service for commercial reasons should pay for the service, and so should startups like Summize, which want to build their businesses based on Twitter’s API

Let’s look at this – how many people have more than 100 followers – I’m guessing around half of Twitter’s users. Of those half I’d suggest that a significant number are accumulating followers for no other reason than that they can. Slap a heavy user charge on them and they’ll quickly start culling lower value (and spam) followers from their group.

So the pool of potential paying customers is reducing all the time. Say we’re now left with 30% of original users. How many of them really consider Twitter anything more than a fun toy? Maybe a third – down to 10% already. And here it gets interesting – 10% of users need to pay for the design and build of a truly scalable messaging service – while 90% of users come in on their shirt tails.

Nope – freemium isn’t the answer for Twitter Om – face it – Twitter signals a bubble – and sure I use it, but I wouldn’t invest in it nor pay to use it – that’s the real problem, not architecture.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • If they charge – we’re gone. We’d just build a mini-blogger for the site so people can be updated. It’d suit out purposes.

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