Facebook and Twitter are estimated to be worth roughly $30 billion combined. That is a ridiculous amount of value for companies that provide what essentially appears to be a free service. So just how do these billion dollar behemoths actually make money? Well it’s quite simple: advertising. Companies and governments alike are practically tripping over themselves to secure an established foothold in the landscape. Given their breadth of services and ways to spread information so immediately and connect people together is priceless. But sometimes that kind of power comes at a price. Rumors and breaking news spreads so fast that it’s not uncommon for things to be missed in translation or people to feel duped over trivial market research / science experiments.
Among the biggest complaints that’s continuing to hound Facebook and Twitter is the increased amount of advertisement placements. However, when you think about it, this was bound to happen if these companies are adamant in keeping the service free. It’s basic economics: as the breadth of services and features increase, they’ll need more capital to sustain them and for continued growth. But let’s consider for a moment if they introduced a subscription based service to users. This isn’t an entirely foreign concept. LinkedIn has followed this route. They’ve drastically scaled back many of their extra features are now broken out on a tier based subscription basis. Free users are left with just enough of the core features to make it worth holding on to your account.
I could see Facebook and Twitter following a similar route. The major difference being paid users would no longer see any ad placements, promoted tweets or spots in their timeline, etc. Free users, on the other hand, would need to tolerate more ad placements and probably some scaled back messaging / communication reach. Given how some people utilize Facebook, this may actually be worth their time. More over, advertisers could incentivize people based on the subscription status (further discounts, access to sneak peaks, etc.). It’s definitely an idea that’s at the very least being discussed and put through the paces on smaller scale affiliates before deciding if a mass rollout is viable. So are these services worth paying? I guess it really depends on the user and their needs. But given the ease of scrutiny to follow one’s digital footpath, it may be better to cut bait sooner rather than later.