14 votes

Twitter may be working on Twitter Blue, a subscription service that would cost $2.99 per month

37 comments

  1. [16]
    Grzmot
    Link
    I understand that software like Twitter is a service and it requires constant work, so as a programmer, the model makes sense to me. But as a customer, I can't help but feel like we're drifting...

    I understand that software like Twitter is a service and it requires constant work, so as a programmer, the model makes sense to me. But as a customer, I can't help but feel like we're drifting towards a future where your wallet dies to a death by a thousand subscriptions.

    For services like Twitter this may be less important, as only a fraction of power users will be interested in it, but for media it feels way more on point. And there is still a lot of software out there that really isn't a service, going from major release to major release, and is still is subscription based. The writing app Ulysses comes to mind, for example.

    14 votes
    1. [8]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      I'd flip this on its head: From having to pay for everything in the past, after a tech rise of services that are free or ad-supported. we're now gradually returning to the normal: When you use...

      I'd flip this on its head: From having to pay for everything in the past, after a tech rise of services that are free or ad-supported. we're now gradually returning to the normal: When you use something you are the customer and you pay. The customer isn't the advertiser, or the platform doesn't run at a huge loss to build the largest possible community before monetization.

      It's not normal to have access to all content, or to pay for many different platforms. In normal times that'd be hugely expensive.

      20 votes
      1. [3]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        Correct, and I am not advocating for everything to be free. As I said, subscriptions make sense when the software on offer is, actually, a service. When there is a running component; a server, for...

        Correct, and I am not advocating for everything to be free. As I said, subscriptions make sense when the software on offer is, actually, a service. When there is a running component; a server, for example.

        Now of course any kind of software is kind of a service, because even when you're not paying for a perpetual license a single time, engineers are working away at fixing bugs and creating new features. But I wouldn't mind returning to a time when a released product was actually free and didn't need immediate day one patches, bugfixes, etc. for it to work to the consumer's satisfaction.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          3_3_2_LA
          Link Parent
          FWIW, I like Agenda app's approach blending subscription and pay-once models. They have a post about it here: https://medium.com/@drewmccormack/a-cash-cow-is-on-the-agenda-138a11995595

          FWIW, I like Agenda app's approach blending subscription and pay-once models. They have a post about it here: https://medium.com/@drewmccormack/a-cash-cow-is-on-the-agenda-138a11995595

          2 votes
          1. Eabryt
            Link Parent
            Reading that article it seems to be the same thing Jetbrains is doing (or at least similar) Last year I purchased a one year subscription for their database tool datagrip. I decided not to renew...

            Reading that article it seems to be the same thing Jetbrains is doing (or at least similar)

            Last year I purchased a one year subscription for their database tool datagrip. I decided not to renew this year as I'm not doing nearly as much DB work so I won't get any updates to my software, but I get to use the latest version of DB that was released during my subscription year (or something like that.) Additionally, if I were to continue to renew the renewal price would get cheaper over the next 2 years until it reached a certain price which would become the yearly renewal.

            I really like that system, and it was what made me feel comfortable purchasing that first subscription even though I wasn't sure how much use it would get (turned out quite a bit for 6-8 months, then not so much recently)

            3 votes
      2. [3]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        I agree, but I think it's worth worrying about what, if any, mechanics there are to make sure the effect is merely that social media platforms are user funded rather than a renewed mass of...

        I agree, but I think it's worth worrying about what, if any, mechanics there are to make sure the effect is merely that social media platforms are user funded rather than a renewed mass of price-gouging.

        1. [2]
          raze2012
          Link Parent
          What's the difference between the two, outside of personal interpretation of the price?

          What's the difference between the two, outside of personal interpretation of the price?

          1. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            Social media being user funded means that people pay (on average, probably) a relatively small amount of money individually and by force of numbers replace all their current (mostly) ad revenue of...

            Social media being user funded means that people pay (on average, probably) a relatively small amount of money individually and by force of numbers replace all their current (mostly) ad revenue of these giant corporations. An example being that YouTube made 20 billion this year and so the amount of money the average person who uses YouTube would pay is around 10 dollars.

            Price gouging would be those companies basically deciding that the share of your life they have is large enough and their importance high enough for them to be able to basically raise the price to whatever they want because you need that service in some way.

            1 vote
      3. raze2012
        Link Parent
        except for Youtube. And unfortunately, I have small hopes that a legitmate competitor will ever challenge that empire (Didn't Amazon want to launch a video hosting service?)

        The customer isn't the advertiser

        except for Youtube. And unfortunately, I have small hopes that a legitmate competitor will ever challenge that empire (Didn't Amazon want to launch a video hosting service?)

    2. [4]
      raze2012
      Link Parent
      How many subscriptions does one have compared to the "old media" days where a cable subscription and a phone subscription were year-long lock-ins? I'm personally all in for the a la carte...

      I can't help but feel like we're drifting towards a future where your wallet dies to a death by a thousand subscriptions.

      How many subscriptions does one have compared to the "old media" days where a cable subscription and a phone subscription were year-long lock-ins?

      I'm personally all in for the a la carte methodology of "subribe for one month, no contracts. cancel any other month". And I don't necessarily watch so much media that I feel I need to eternally subscribe to everything. my current subscriptions:

      • YT premium (10 USD/month): I used to have this because google play music was my most used service, and "Youtube Red" came with it. GPM is dead now, but I've come to adjust to liking premium, and youtube is my most used website
      • Amazon Prime ($14/month): Pretty much my most used shopping. saving on shipping time and costs pays for itself quickly for me.
      • Google Drive ($2 /month): honestly, it's dead cheap and 100GB means I can store pretty much everything I want synced across devices.
      • Spotify ($10/month): Migrated after GPM shut down: Use it often for runs or random chores around the house. Music is convienent
      • HBO Max ($15/month): I subbed once to watch Adventure Time's specials, then unsubbed. I subbed again this month because I had a Ben 10 urge and realized they have the entire series (movies included) on the service. Will likely unsub afterwards until boondocks comes in.

      a little over $50/month and I can opt out at any time if money is tight. It's not perfect, nor am I (I realized just now that I had a Disney+ subscription I didn't cancel while watching Wandavision), but the ramifications on forgetting a month of paying is less than regretting a cell phone contract.

      In comparison, basic cable packages alone would come close to that cost and offer 90% channels I'm not interested in.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        In the old days, some people had multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions, while others had none and would just buy them at the news stand.

        In the old days, some people had multiple newspaper and magazine subscriptions, while others had none and would just buy them at the news stand.

        3 votes
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          Some still do! My father has one daily and one weekly newspaper along with a number of physical magazine subscriptions. I have four physical magazine subscriptions (along with a few digital...

          Some still do!

          My father has one daily and one weekly newspaper along with a number of physical magazine subscriptions. I have four physical magazine subscriptions (along with a few digital subscriptions) and take some of the magazines from my father when he's done reading them as there's no point subscribing myself if I can get them from him for free. Domestic magazine subscriptions are honestly too cheap in my opinion and I think directly led to the downfall of several otherwise high quality magazines.

          3 votes
      2. Akir
        Link Parent
        Exactly; even with things being stretched to different subscription services, we're still getting a much better value out of them. And beyond that, buying from multiple people isn't exactly a new...

        Exactly; even with things being stretched to different subscription services, we're still getting a much better value out of them.

        And beyond that, buying from multiple people isn't exactly a new phenominon. Imagine being upset that you have to buy this Beatles album from one record company but this Snoop Dogg album from another. Purchase/rental differences aside, the only real difference to today is that you have to buy directly from the "record company", but as a side-effect you're also getting access to drammatically more content.

        Not to mention that if you really are upset that media franchise X is leaving streaming service Y, subscribing to streaming service Z isn't usually the only option; almost everything has an a la carte purchase option of some sort.

    3. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      To some extent, but only because subscriptions as a payment structure can sneak up on you as to how much money you end up actually paying to these applications. In a general sense, and personally,...

      To some extent, but only because subscriptions as a payment structure can sneak up on you as to how much money you end up actually paying to these applications.

      In a general sense, and personally, not really. There are many services, some of which I use to use, that have moved to subscription models, and in many cases I just don't use them if they're not that important to me. Which is fine. I don't see it as very different from software that's too expensive (in a one-time purchase) for my needs

      (A recent example, Paprika's desktop version cost $30 while it's mobile app is only $5; I would like to be able to edit recipes where I have a keyboard, but the one-time fee is too much for that to be worth it. So I'm not going to buy it, and be able to do that, but that's okay)

      It's not like I deserve to use all software for a price that works for me.

      Sometimes I'm priced out of a program, whether by sticker or by annual price. If it's too much for the market in general, well, that's the company's problem, and they can readjust their pricing scheme or die. If not, then looks like it's fine.

      3 votes
    4. [2]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I see no future for the internet without an increase in subscriptions. The question isn't "if" but "how". Surely, nobody wants to manage like 2 dozen micro-fees. I rather see a system where you...

      I see no future for the internet without an increase in subscriptions. The question isn't "if" but "how". Surely, nobody wants to manage like 2 dozen micro-fees. I rather see a system where you can buy bundles of services for a flat price and the services are paid according to which you use (hopefully not per click, at that would return to the clickbait/ad war situation we're trying to escape).

      Say, I'm paying $20 a month to get access to the "premium" versions of Twitter, Spotify, Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, Hulu, etc. I might not use all of them but I know I could at any time without feeling like "being the product" (I paid!). I think on a larger scale, it could work. Some giants like Netflix might hold out but for something like a premium Twitter, this could work.

      3 votes
      1. Akir
        Link Parent
        I don't think that this is an inevitability, but being able to manage subscriptions in one place is kinda already happening right now. My HBO Max subscription, for instance is currently being...

        I don't think that this is an inevitability, but being able to manage subscriptions in one place is kinda already happening right now. My HBO Max subscription, for instance is currently being billed automatically to my Apple account, and I know there are other services that offer that option.

        1 vote
  2. [19]
    cloud_loud
    Link
    I guess they took a page out of YouTube Red’s naming book. I haven’t used Twitter in a few months, but last year I was a heavy user. I would spend hours and hours on that app. But, I just don’t...

    I guess they took a page out of YouTube Red’s naming book.

    I haven’t used Twitter in a few months, but last year I was a heavy user. I would spend hours and hours on that app. But, I just don’t see the point of these features. Being able to organize your “favorite tweets” and having a bookmark organizer, it seems like a lot of fluff. Undo tweet could be useful, I suppose, but you can always just delete the tweet right away. It’s not like it’s gonna save you a lot of time anyway.

    This also struck me as an odd thing:

    For example, users on higher-priced tiers could enjoy premium experiences, such as clutter-free news reading experience (Twitter is acquiring @tryscroll recently)

    News aggregators already exist (Apple News, Google News, SmartNews) and if people are looking for a plain and simple way to look at news, they probably already use those apps. Very rarely do people use Twitter as a pure news aggregator, Twitter was not meant to be a news aggregator and that’s not why people use it. The vast majority of people on Twitter use it to look at funny tweets, and memes, and fancams. And if people are looking for “news" they follow influencers that tweet out what are essentially short editorials and participate in twitter drama.

    The ad-free thing is a plus but ads on Twitter aren’t nearly as annoying as they are on YouTube, and YouTube Red gives you the ability to listen to a video while locking your phone, and is essentially a music streaming service. Twitter Blue is just gonna offer a few fancy tricks that most people wouldn’t bother using.

    It just seems pointless.

    5 votes
    1. [9]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      It's somewhat unfair to criticize it for not having enough features at the moment, because we have no idea how many features there are going to be in the final product. This isn't a press release...

      It's somewhat unfair to criticize it for not having enough features at the moment, because we have no idea how many features there are going to be in the final product. This isn't a press release from Twitter, it's presumably just leaks of a few of the offerings, the price, and the name. Even the tweet says

      including paid features like:

      4 votes
      1. [8]
        cloud_loud
        Link Parent
        I guess that’s fair, but I don’t know what they could add to make it worth it. Maybe higher paying customers will have more characters and an edit feature. But, I just can’t see this being very...

        I guess that’s fair, but I don’t know what they could add to make it worth it. Maybe higher paying customers will have more characters and an edit feature.

        But, I just can’t see this being very successful.

        2 votes
        1. [7]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          A rumored feature is the ability to edit tweets. I think that would be huge for the creators on twitter; Linus, of LTT, said he'd be willing to pay over $60/month just for the ability to edit...

          A rumored feature is the ability to edit tweets. I think that would be huge for the creators on twitter; Linus, of LTT, said he'd be willing to pay over $60/month just for the ability to edit tweets.

          In general, I think that prosumer class of users is what this is going to target, not really the people who just consume content on twitter, and there's a lot of area for twitter to improve as a tool for people who use twitter as part of their branding and communication.

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            MimicSquid
            Link Parent
            Heck, I'd pay $60/mo to be able to tweet something out, get people to agree with it, and then change the tweet to change the context. Without a lot of revision history and junk, that's just...

            Heck, I'd pay $60/mo to be able to tweet something out, get people to agree with it, and then change the tweet to change the context. Without a lot of revision history and junk, that's just opening everyone up to messes. Reddit removed the option to change titles on posts specifically because jokers would pull people in with a "Who likes Cats?" title, and then swap it out for a scandalous question instead. The same sort of shit would be all over the place unless the edit left the original version there for all retweets and replies, which mostly ruins the effect of an edit.

            4 votes
            1. [5]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              Well, that's a fairly malicious way to use that feature. While possible, I think there's also a great need for it in a non-malicious context. You see it all the time; say, a youtuber tweets out...

              Well, that's a fairly malicious way to use that feature. While possible, I think there's also a great need for it in a non-malicious context.

              You see it all the time; say, a youtuber tweets out "Hey, I'm releasing a video on 5/16" but they fucked up and it's actually on 5/18. If they catch it early they can delete and retweet, but if not, then you have an awkward choice. You can delete it and redo it, but then you lose all the likes and especially retweets that can really kneecap your spread.

              What most people do is just reply to themselves with the correction, but you know that a good percentage of people won't see it. What you really want to do is stick an "edit: I meant 5/18" on the original tweet that's been retweeted all those times.

              Twitter has an overrepresentation of content creators, influencers, companies, politicians, etc. who would, in a non-malicious way, really want to have the safety of being able to change tweets.

              3 votes
              1. [4]
                MimicSquid
                Link Parent
                It is a malicious way to use the feature. It would be used that way aggressively and constantly. The fact that there's good use cases for it as well is cold comfort on a platform like Twitter that...

                It is a malicious way to use the feature. It would be used that way aggressively and constantly. The fact that there's good use cases for it as well is cold comfort on a platform like Twitter that is already showered in mis/disinformation.

                11 votes
                1. [3]
                  raze2012
                  Link Parent
                  With all due respect, I'm sure Twitter (the account that just had to ban the former president of the United States due to years of bending the rules) has already taken this into account in their...

                  With all due respect, I'm sure Twitter (the account that just had to ban the former president of the United States due to years of bending the rules) has already taken this into account in their design if it is indeed a feature. This isn't just a switch they flipped and I'm sure the administrative meetings to determine whether this should be a feature cost more than the engineers' compensation for the time needed to implement it.

                  as a minor tagential example: Youtube took this into account when they started to highlight creators liking a comment. If the comment is edited, that like is removed. It's unfortunate for those who just wanted to say thank you, but it's definitely there so a comment can't edit to say something malicious.


                  now: the obvious solution most sites implement when editing comments is

                  1. set a time-frame for editing a comment
                  2. mark a comment as (edited) when it is edited, which can be the same or different time frame (e.g. on Reddit you can edit a comment 3 minutes after submission to avoid that tag. You can edit a comment after that with the tag anytime before archival, 6 months later).
                  3. if a comment is marked as edited, remove the likes/favorites and reset the tweet.

                  optional convienences involve viewing an edit history to see what the comment was and the likes were at before an edit.

                  So this isn't a novel problem. And I'm sure Twitter will make a much more robust solution than the one I typed out in 3 minutes.

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    MimicSquid
                    Link Parent
                    It's not a novel problem at all, but nothing in how Twitter has handled itself makes me think well of their ability or willingness to fix issues with their platform. That its a solvable problem...

                    It's not a novel problem at all, but nothing in how Twitter has handled itself makes me think well of their ability or willingness to fix issues with their platform. That its a solvable problem says nothing about whether it will be solved, given Twitter's history of unforced errors.

                    3 votes
                    1. raze2012
                      Link Parent
                      on a technical level I'm sure their engineers will implement some solution that will satify many users to pay $3/month for the feature. on a social level, bad actors will always exist and find...

                      but nothing in how Twitter has handled itself makes me think well of their ability or willingness to fix issues with their platform.

                      on a technical level I'm sure their engineers will implement some solution that will satify many users to pay $3/month for the feature.

                      on a social level, bad actors will always exist and find exploits and loopholes on any given platform, with other actors acting in a spectrum in blaming the platform in question for either doing too much or not enough to address the problem. There's not really a "fix" on this side, I mostly just wanted to elaborate on the technical side of the issue.

                      1 vote
    2. [5]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      I'm sorry what? I don't use twitter but almost ALL people I know do and use it almost solely as a news aggregator.

      Very rarely do people use Twitter as a pure news aggregator, Twitter was not meant to be a news aggregator and that’s not why people use it.

      I'm sorry what? I don't use twitter but almost ALL people I know do and use it almost solely as a news aggregator.

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        cloud_loud
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It’s a very bad news aggregator. You get a lot of the same tweets, since certain newsgroups seem to tweet out the same article over and over, and then you miss other articles. And if people use it...

        It’s a very bad news aggregator. You get a lot of the same tweets, since certain newsgroups seem to tweet out the same article over and over, and then you miss other articles. And if people use it to get news, as I explained, they don’t really follow newspapers or magazines they follow thought leaders or influencers. And if that’s not the case with your friends, then you guys are in the minority.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I've tried subscribing to newspapers' official feeds, but the ones I tried will retweet the same article multiple times.

          I've tried subscribing to newspapers' official feeds, but the ones I tried will retweet the same article multiple times.

          1 vote
          1. cloud_loud
            Link Parent
            Yeah I’ve had the same issue with it. I minimized my usage in twitter to only following like a dozen accounts. And I felt like that wasn’t good enough in terms of minimizing, so then I ended...

            Yeah I’ve had the same issue with it. I minimized my usage in twitter to only following like a dozen accounts. And I felt like that wasn’t good enough in terms of minimizing, so then I ended following only news sites and one film critic, and even then it just wasn’t practical because I would see the same article get retweeted even like three days later. I ended up just deleting twitter and sticking with Apple News and turning on notifications for a few publications like The Hollywood Reporter and the LA Times and it’s worked out pretty well for me.

            2 votes
        2. elcuello
          Link Parent
          Oh I know but that doesn't change the fact that it's what they use it for so

          It’s a very bad news aggregator. You get a lot of the same tweets, since certain newsgroups seem to tweet out the same article over and over, and then you miss other articles.

          Oh I know but that doesn't change the fact that it's what they use it for so

    3. [3]
      raze2012
      Link Parent
      undoing a tweet would be priceless for high profile accounts who may have their every tweet hounded and archived. And for those kinds of accounts $3 isn't even a drop in the pool, even if that was...

      undoing a tweet would be priceless for high profile accounts who may have their every tweet hounded and archived. And for those kinds of accounts $3 isn't even a drop in the pool, even if that was the only feature. I can see the value and audience for that.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        elcuello
        Link Parent
        How does undoing a tweet help when it's already hounded and archived? Isn't it the same as deleting it now?

        undoing a tweet would be priceless for high profile accounts who may have their every tweet hounded and archived

        How does undoing a tweet help when it's already hounded and archived? Isn't it the same as deleting it now?

        8 votes
        1. raze2012
          Link Parent
          I assume it works similarly to "unsending" an email. What happens is that the tweet isn't immediately being sent out, but is on a delay timer before actually going out to public. So you have a...

          I assume it works similarly to "unsending" an email. What happens is that the tweet isn't immediately being sent out, but is on a delay timer before actually going out to public. So you have a grace period where you can change you mind.

          it won't help people that are trying to tweet at each other in real time, but I imagine most people (high profile accounts especially) would appreciate the "undo timer" more than they do rapid tweeting.

          5 votes
    4. noble_pleb
      Link Parent
      They are probably just testing waters before bringing some more useful features under paid subscription. Making things paid will result in enormous loss of users for any platform so its risky,...

      But, I just don’t see the point of these features. Being able to organize your “favorite tweets” and having a bookmark organizer, it seems like a lot of fluff.

      They are probably just testing waters before bringing some more useful features under paid subscription. Making things paid will result in enormous loss of users for any platform so its risky, even Facebook tried experimenting with making WhatsApp paid for a while but it didn't work.

  3. randulo
    Link
    Haven't read all yet, but there was talk of the subscription fees being for people above some number like 1,000 followers. The average used to be about 300. Maybe that's said in the article, maybe...

    Haven't read all yet, but there was talk of the subscription fees being for people above some number like 1,000 followers. The average used to be about 300. Maybe that's said in the article, maybe it has changed or never was.

    2 votes
  4. vegai
    Link
    I would pay that for a premium Twitter where ads and idiots would not be.

    I would pay that for a premium Twitter where ads and idiots would not be.