Twitter cofounder says service won't charge for existing components

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter cofounder Biz Stone clarified on February 10 that the existing components of the popular microblogging service will remain free to both individuals and companies.

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter cofounder Biz Stone clarified on February 10 that the existing components of the popular microblogging service will remain free to both individuals and companies.

Stone responded to media speculation that the microblogging service would begin to charge companies – some of which have dozens of employees using the service for corporate purposes – for its services. He explained on the Twitter blog that the company may roll out revenue-based products this year.

"What we're thinking about is adding value in places where we are already seeing traction, not imposing fees on existing services," he said on the blog. "We are still very early in the idea stage and we don't have anything to share just yet despite a recent surge in speculation."

Stone clarified via e-mail that "everyone – people, companies, celebrities, etc. – will still be able to use Twitter for free."

Spokespeople from Amazon.com, Comcast, and Starbucks – all of which have Twitter accounts for corporate use – said they did not want to speculate on possible Twitter charges or their reactions to them.

Bob Pearson, VP of communities and conversations at Dell, said that his company uses more than 130 Twitter accounts to interact with customers. He added that while Twitter is a convenient tool for Dell, the PC-maker could change its approach if the microblogging service becomes too expensive or complicated.

"The minute it becomes a painful process, if it were to, we would move on to the next thing," he said, "If it became something that it isn't today – what it is today is a free microblogging tool – and it becomes a paid advertising platform, then it's in a different [category]…and you evaluate it differently."

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