Twitter users say it's not worth paying for

Posted by Emma Woollacott

While half of all Americans use Twitter, not one would be prepared to pay for it, according to a survey.

The annual study of the impact of the internet on Americans by the Center for the Digital Future found that 49 percent of users said they'd used free micro-blogs such as Twitter.

But when asked if they would be willing to pay for Twitter, every one said no."Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free," said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg’s School for Communication & Journalism.

"Twitter has no plans to charge its users, but this result illustrates, beyond any doubt, the tremendous problem of transforming free users into paying users. Online providers face major challenges to get customers to pay for services they now receive for free."

Twitter has been looking at different ways of generating revenue from its service through advertising. It recently launched @earlybird, a service pointing users to specific offers.

However, the study also found that half of internet users never click on web advertising, and 70 percent said that it was 'annoying.' Yet more than half said they'd rather see web advertising than pay for content.

"Internet users can obtain content in three ways: they can steal it, or pay for it, or accept advertising on the web pages they view," said Cole.

"Users express strong negative views about online advertising, but they still prefer seeing ads as an alternative to paying for content. Consumers really want free content without advertising, but ultimately they understand that content has to be paid for - one way or another."