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Twitter Starts Charging in Japan

Twitter’s Japanese partner, Digital Garage, is running an experiment in Japan where it will allow Twitter users to charge others to read their updates. Twitter acts as the middle man and takes a cut of the charge—reportedly 30%—with the rest going to the charging Twitter user. It looks like Twitter will offer both subscription and pay-per-tweet options.

This is a classic information broker approach, so what kind of users will take up Twitter’s brokerage offer? With Twitter’s broad reach, low priced subscriptions could provide good returns. Running this experiment in Japan makes sense, as the Japanese are more used to paying for web content than people in the western world. TechCrunch lists a few more reasons why this has more chance of working in Japan. In the west, it might make more sense to charge the account owner, rather than the follower, and provide premium tools of some kind.

How many Twitter users will be willing to pay up for either model? It’s an interesting question, but I’m not sure whether Twitter will share the details with us.

Update: Scratch that:

In response to media reports stating that Twitter Japan will be launching a paid-premium accounts service on Twitter, we would like to officially state that this is not correct. […] > In response to media reports stating that Twitter Japan will be launching a paid-premium accounts service on Twitter, we would like to officially state that this is not correct. […]</p>

The recent media reports are likely a result of a misunderstood presentation by a DG subsidiary, DG Mobile, about potential business opportunities that it could explore as a third party. DG Mobile’s presentation was unrelated and separate from the Twitter and Digital Garage partnership. The recent media reports are likely a result of a misunderstood presentation by a DG subsidiary, DG Mobile, about potential business opportunities that it could explore as a third party. DG Mobile’s presentation was unrelated and separate from the Twitter and Digital Garage partnership.</blockquote>

.:.