Twitter to Charge in Japan

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Twitter is changing shape dramatically for its Japanese users beginning this coming January, with a move to a subscription model to charge users, depending on the manner in which they use the service.

While the average user won’t be charged to actually write to and update their own Twitter accounts, MediaAsia is reporting that those users looking to follow popular accounts will be charged for the privilege. So-called “premium” accounts will require users to pay to follow them. It’s certainly a monumental shift in the way the whole thing works, but for now we’re just curious to see how well it manages to launch…

Of course, many have been quick to point out that the Twitter model is fairly different for Japanese users, with the official Twitter.co.jp having only launched around a month ago. Moreover, the Japanese version of Twitter is already being billed as a bit of a different animal to the international version; it boasts its own video upload service for one, which makes the whole thing a little different.

Obviously enough, there are different cultural considerations for Twitter in different regions, but if the service manages to catch on in Japan with a for-pay model on premium accounts then we’d be curious to see if that’s something that the micro-blogging business starts to adopt in other regions.

For what it’s worth, we certainly doubt it’ll ever hit on our end; the fact that Twitter is free at the point of use has long been the driving force behind adoption of the service. The idea that people might have to pay to use it sounds as though it could be the fastest way possible to lose half of a service’s userbase, even if it is just to follow so-called “premium accounts.”

Still, if Twitter Japan can do it…

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3 Responses to “Twitter to Charge in Japan”

  1. Wizartar Says:

    LoL, hope Twitter.co.jp dies a quick and painful death! And they realize there’s this thing called YOU…TUBE…

  2. Stephen lacy Says:

    Japan has a very different culture to ours. There is an amazing number of things that work well in japan and not in any western country particularly in the area of technology. I imagine that twitter will some day have to make money but I think it’s going to take more than just a successful precedent to prove the concept. I for one will quit Twitter should that become a reality and start using identi.ca

  3. Kevin Says:

    This is a strange model because what if they brought this in internationally? I’d have to pay for Ashton Kutcher, which puts importance on him over any other user – which isn’t exactly a promotion of community. Japan is a different market for sure, but the basic idea behind community and social interaction is the same!

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