The day after pondering just how Twitter makes money, I received this email-
I’m sending you this note because you registered a mobile device to work with Twitter over our UK number. I wanted to let you know that we are making some changes to the way SMS works on Twitter. There is some good news and some bad news.
I’ll start with the bad news. Beginning today, Twitter is no longer delivering outbound SMS over our UK number. If you enjoy receiving updates from Twitter via +44 762 480 1423, we are recommending that you explore some suggested alternatives.
Note: You will still be able to UPDATE over our UK number.
Before I go into more detail, here’s a bit of good news: Twitter will be introducing several new, local SMS numbers in countries throughout Europe in the coming weeks and months. These new numbers will make Twittering more accessible for you if you’ve
been using SMS to send long-distance updates from outside the UK.
Why are we making these changes?
Mobile operators in most of the world charge users to send updates. When you send one message to Twitter and we send it to ten followers, you aren’t charged ten times–that’s because we’ve been footing the bill. When we launched our free SMS service to the world, we set the clock ticking. As the service grew in popularity, so too would the price.
Our challenge during this window of time was to establish relationships with mobile operators around the world such that our SMS services could become sustainable from a cost perspective. We achieved this goal in Canada, India, and the United States.
We can provide full incoming and outgoing SMS service without passing along operator fees in these countries.
We took a risk hoping to bring more nations onboard and more mobile operators around to our way of thinking but we’ve arrived at a point where the responsible thing to do is slow our costs and take a different approach. Since you probably don’t live in
Canada, India, or the US, we recommend receiving your Twitter updates via one of the following methods.
m.twitter.com works on browser-enabled phones
m.slandr.net works on browser-enabled phones
TwitterMail.com works on email-enabled phones
Cellity [http://bit.ly/12bw4R] works on java-enabled phones
TwitterBerry [http://bit.ly/MFAfJ] works on BlackBerry phones
Twitterific [http://bit.ly/1WxjwQ] works on iPhones
Twitter SMS by The Numbers
It pains us to take this measure. However, we need to avoid placing undue burden on our company and our service. Even with a limit of 250 messages received per week, it could cost Twitter about $1,000 per user, per year to send SMS outside of Canada, India, or the US. It makes more sense for us to establish fair billing arrangements with mobile operators than it does to pass these high fees on to our users.
Twitter will continue to negotiate with mobile operators in Europe, Asia, China, and The Americas to forge relationships that benefit all our users. Our goal is to provide full, two-way service with Twitter via SMS to every nation in a way that is
sustainable from a cost perspective. Talks with mobile companies around the world continue. In the meantime, more local numbers for updating via SMS are on the way. We’ll keep you posted.
Thank you for your attention,
Biz Stone, Co-founder
If you don’t want to receive news from Twitter click here:
I could try out the browser enabled services, as I’ve got a far better mobile internet deal than a couple of weeks ago.