In a blog post , co-founder Biz Stone said that two percent of its user base was consuming four percent of total outbound SMS messages sent by Twitter.
This ‘disproportionately impacted overall operational cost[s]’, Stone said.
“When we launched our free SMS service to the world, we set the clock ticking,” Stone said in an earlier blog post.
“As the service grew in popularity, so too would the price [because] 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,” Stone said.
But the explanation has left many Australian users critical of Twitter’s handling of the decision.
“Its [sic] poor customer relations whether its [sic] free or not,” a user, Rich, wrote on the getsatisfaction forum.
“If twitter plan to make a profit somehow, they need customers, and this ain't how you build a loyal fanbase.”
Twitter said that it is trying to negotiate with mobile operators in Australia to reinstate outbound SMS, but it was unable to establish a relationship before the costs became unsustainable.
“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,” Stone said.
Twitter has also defended its decision not to introduce a premium Twitter service where users could pay to continue receiving outbound SMS.
“International billing is a significant project and not something we are comfortable focusing on before we have a dependable offering,” Stone continued.
“It's not right to charge for spotty service—and we know there are bugs.”
Already, several alternative services have sprung up, including TwitSMS , which was created over the weekend by a couple of Melbourne Internet entrepreneurs.
The service enables Twitter users to advance purchase SMS messages in bulk for $11.00 per 100 messages.
Another service , tweetSMS, is also set to launch shortly.
Twitter defends axing as entrepreneurs cash in
By Staff Writers on Aug 19, 2008 7:29AM