Ever been to Brian Briggs' fake tech news site BBSpot? A whole lot of people have today after it was reported that Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams "today announced part of the company's long-awaited business model: Twitter Premium accounts."
Part clever, part stupid, Briggs' post filled the need that so many people have harbored for so long about the famously popular microblogging site: that it needs a business model, fast.
Williams stressed that free accounts will still be available to all users, and that only those wanting more services would pay. Premium accounts will come in four tiers: Sparrow, Dove, Owl and Eagle.
The details of the accounts are as follows:
- Sparrow ($5/month) – Users get 145 character limit, 5 extra random followers.
- Dove ($15/month) – Users get 160 character limit, 25 extra random followers, 1 random celebrity follower, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" T-shirt.
- Owl ($50/month) – Users get 250 character limit, 100 extra random followers, 2 random celebrity followers, 30 minutes on recommended list, auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" hoodie.
- Eagle ($250/month) – Users get 500 character limit, 1000 extra random followers, 3 celebrity followers of their choice, 5 hours on recommended list each month, Twitter Concierge for Tweeting while user is asleep or busy (and more), auto-spell check, "Fail Whale" tuxedo, custom "Fail Whale" page when service is down.
Looks pretty convincing, right? (Except for the Fail Whale gear.) Until you get to the next part:
Users in any tier will be able to purchase an EmbellishTwit add-on for $100/year, which directs tweets to a well-educated offshore employee who will embellish tweets. For example, "Just had a whole wheat bagel and coffee for breakfast," becomes "Just got in from clubbing all night and Heidi Klum is spreading brie on a baguette just flown in on the Concord for my breakfast."
Rumors of a even higher level of service the secret "Black" account, which has J. K. Rowling, Stephen King and other famous authors write your tweets have not been confirmed.
Analysts peg Twitters value near the GDP of Canada.
EmbellishTwit? Sounds like the name of someone who believed this baloney.
Still, we can learn from this hoax. The fact that so many people believed it -- and continue to -- shows that everyone from casual users to celebrities, businesses and other institutions are looking to leverage Twitter's technology. All they need, of course, is a business plan.
Not this time. Fail whale 1, Twitterverse 0.