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Twitter to Charge Brands for Commercial Use

Brand Republic reported today that Twitter has said they plan on charging brands for the commercial use of their service. While I understand that Twitter needs to find some way to begin generating revenue, the obvious question that everyone has been asking is whether or not brands will actually stick around once the fees are implemented. From what the article states, it will depend on the value that brands are getting in return for their presence on Twitter, which makes sense… All marketing decisions should be based on ROI.

While Biz Stone, Twitter CEO, has said that individuals will not be charged, I question where that line is between individuals and brands. If an individual is actively promoting his or her company, will that be perceived as a brand? For example, will an individual from a media organization be charged for actively promoting articles that his or her organization are writing (e.g. Pete Cashmore from Mashable)? Will agencies be charged for promoting their blog entries, services, or interesting facts that ultimately lead back to their website?

Techcrunch has raised a lot of similar questions in their posting today as well.

I think those answers as well as other questions will surface in the coming weeks as Twitter explores this revenue angle. A part of me wonders if this is something that has been in the works for awhile now, or if this is a direct result of hiring Kevin Thaus back in December and charging him with the responsibility of business development.

I guess we’ll see once more details become available, but I hope this move does not knock out some of the smaller brands out there.

UPDATE (2/11/09)

Apparently Biz Stone noticed the online speculation in regards to his comments and posted this entry as a result.

In other words, no decisions have been made just yet, and they are striving to keep Twitter free for individuals and companies alike.

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Brad Clark

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