Twitter Japan To Introduce Paid Subscriptions

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 29, 2009
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Internet, Twitter

If you have ever asked yourself how Twitter could be earning revenue from its highly popular messaging service then the latest developments at Twitter Japan might answer that question for you.

The development, which is already making the rounds on various news sites such as Techcrunch, Connected Internet or, is apparently limited to Japan at this point. A country where Twitter displayed advertisement on its page ever since its official release.

The concept itself is simple. Twitter account holders can opt for a subscription based model from January 2010 on which would only give subscribed users access to the Twitter messages by subscribed account holders.

Subscription fees are said to be between $1.50 and $11.50 per month with an option to pay for the ability to view single messages as well.

Billing options include paying per credit card, using the  mobile phone bill, or to purchase prepaid tickets.

Techcrunch have posted an analysis why this subscription based model makes sense to be implemented in Japan. Among the reasons are that it is common in Japan to pay for premium mobile and Internet content, or the character sets which allow Japanese users to add more text than Western users.

Japan is also the only country in the world for which a mobile client has been released for (this changed in recent years but was true back then).

It will definitely be interesting to see how this will turn out. I cannot really see this model being adopted in the West even if it succeeds in Japan, considering that most Twitter users from the west are probably not interested in paying a subscription fee to the service.

Many details are yet to be revealed including the technical realization of the subscription model.

Twitter Japan To Introduce Paid Subscriptions
Article Name
Twitter Japan To Introduce Paid Subscriptions
Twitter Japan plans to launch a subscription based option for users in the country that would allow users to charge for access to their tweets.
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  1. Marc Glasberg said on November 30, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    To commemorate the fact that Twitter is NOT going to charge it’s users I have created a Twitter mockup that implements the exact functionality TechCrunch has described. It sells fake Robert Scoble SuperTweets. Have a look here:

    SuperTweets are tweets up to 420 characters. The mockup charges 1 cent micropayments to show each SuperTweet, and it charges 30 cents micro-subscription to show all of them.

    I don’t know if this would work or not if Twitter implemented it, but TC seems to think it might, since this mockup follows exactly the functionality described here:

    What do you think??

  2. Taco said on November 29, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I thought Twitter was popular but no one I know uses it and according to Lifehacker it’s not that popular with their readers either. I frankly don’t see them surviving if they start requiring paid subscriptions.

  3. Blake said on November 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Check out: “Misunderstanding”: Twitter Japan Now Says There Won’t Be A Subscription Model (Update) (

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