July 22, 2013
Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Touts Benefits Of Facebook Premium Subscriptions
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
In a post on his recently-launched website Medium, Biz Stone, one of three individuals who created the microblogging website back in 2006, wrote he had only recently begun using Facebook again after a long hiatus.
Stone said he signed up shortly after the social media website launched, but became "overwhelmed" by new settings and features - as well as his own decision to "heedlessly" accept every friend request that came his way, causing his account to be "so busy I couldn't keep up."
Now that he works with some former Facebook employees at a new startup company, however, Stone said he decided to give the social network another look. However, he explained the ads bothered him because, generally, they did not seem "particularly useful or engaging."
Stone admitted the ads were "universally tolerated" by Facebook users because they kept the service free, but he suggested the company should offer a premium version of the website. Those who wanted to and could afford the investment could pay $10 each month to make the advertisements disappear from their profile.
"Stone certainly isn't the first to suggest that Facebook consider a freemium model, but his comments are all the more notable considering he comes from a rival service," Mashable's Seth Fiegerman said. "Of course, the obvious question is whether Stone would also push for Twitter to introduce a premium option to get rid of all the promoted trends and tweets, but perhaps he'll address that in a future Medium post."
If just one out of every 10 Facebook users ordered a $10 premium subscription, Stone explained, the website could earn an additional $1 billion in annual revenue. However, Forbes contributor Mark Rogowsky disagrees with the former Twitter executive's assertion.
"I'm with Stone on the ad problem," Rogowsky said. However, he argues that "nowhere near" 10 percent of all Facebook users would pay for the service, that a "reasonable subscription fee" would have to be less than $10 per month, and that the proposal would lower the social media website's advertising revenue.
"While it's true Facebook has 1.1 billion users, it's also true that a lot of them aren't flush with disposable income," he added. "In fact, just under 200 million come from North America and another 270 million are in Europe. While there are certainly upper-income Facebook users in Brazil, India and Russia, the reality is paying for Facebook just to make the ads go away is what a Twitter user might label a #firstworldproblem."