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Twitter Jumps On Subscription Platform Hopes

Image via Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Twitter is a prime example of a great product but a horrible investment. Twitter, despite being the de facto go-to source for news, has significantly underperformed its social media peers and the overall market.

With the market essentially going up in a straight line over the last decade, shares of Twitter still trade well below their all-time high of $74.73, which was reached on December 26, 2013—just over a month after the company's IPO.

Criticism about Twitter's share price usually falls on its CEO Jack Dorsey, who continues to serve as CEO of both Twitter and the other company he founded, Square. Additional criticism of Twitter usually comes back to the product being confusing and filled with hateful content, as well as the company having missed the boat on features that its competitors have succeeded in implementing, for example killing Vine.

Twitter shareholders were enthused yesterday, causing shares to jump as much as 12%, as a pair of online job postings hinted that Twitter may be working on a subscription platform codenamed Gryphon.

"We are a new team, codenamed Gryphon. We are building a subscription platform, one that can be reused by other teams in the future," the job posting read. "This is a first for Twitter! Gryphon is a team of web engineers who are closely collaborating with the Payments team and the Twitter.com team."

A separate contractor position posted on LinkedIn also referenced the subscription platform.

"A mixture of FE and BE engineers working closely together to deliver something new at Twitter," the job posting read. "The team will be collaborating to rebuild some of Twitter’s services to produce a subscription management platform."

Twitter previously looked into the idea of a paid subscription service back in 2017. The company sent a survey to "power users" asking a series of questions about the idea being implemented into Tweetdeck.

"Twitter is considering offering an advanced TweetDeck experience, with more powerful tools to help marketers, journalists, professionals, and others in our community find out what is happening in the world quicker, to gain more insights, and see the broadest range of what people are saying on Twitter," the survey read.

Twitter didn't respond for comment about the job postings. Twitter edited the job postings to remove any mention of a subscription feature or internal teams after they became widely circulated before editing them once again to the original language.

Whether or not Twitter follows through with the plan, one cause for concern may be a survey conducted by 9to5Mac, which asked "Would you pay a monthly fee for an ad-free Twitter w/ deeper analytic information?"

87% of respondents replied "No, not worth it," while 9% of respondents replied "Yes, $5 per month."

With many people becoming content creators and monetizing their followings—for example, on sites such as OnlyFans and Patreon, the move by Twitter seems to make sense. Furthermore, with Dorsey's other company Square able to process the payments, it begins to make even more sense.

For Twitter shareholders that have continued to hold on to their shares all of these years, a subscription platform may be just what Twitter needs to help them recover their losses.

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