TweetDeck, the Twitter program geared for hardcore users, may no longer be free when it launches in the near future. Work-in-progress registration page for the app was found by security researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who claims to have found an advertisement-free version of the app.
The website does not clearly state that you must pay Twitter in order to use TweetDeck, but it is rare for corporations to promote that a free tool “helps you avoid the thing that earns us money” (even if, like the current version of TweetDeck, it is). Even more surprising, Twitter is already seeking to offer a membership service for its most powerful users.
In the past, we’ve heard rumors that Twitter plans to commercialize TweetDeck, and this isn’t the first time. It was discovered by Manchun Wong earlier this month that attempting to access the updated version of TweetDeck by non-Blue users was sent to the Twitter Blue sign-up page. Moreover, Bloomberg reported on Twitter’s possible subscription service more than a year ago. That revelation occurred soon before we learned from Twitter that it was working on a “major redesign” of TweetDeck.
A sneak peek at the redesigned website has already been shown. It’s a lengthy and contentious piece of art that probably required a lot of time and effort. It’s not inconceivable that Twitter is doing this to seem more open to the community and third-party developers, but it appears more probable that the business introduced Twitter Blue knowing TweetDeck might be a major selling factor.
Considering that Twitter’s $2.99 per month membership is clearly targeted at business users, a “pro” edition of the app would seem to make sense.
However, there is a counterargument: Twitter Blue is not ad-free. This information is mentioned twice in the service’s FAQ. Is the fact that TweetDeck is now ad-free proof that it will be a part of Twitter Blue in the near future?
There are some valid points to be made, but I’m more convinced by the contradiction: Having TweetDeck as an optional feature for Blue members would allow Twitter to provide its paying customers an ad-free experience without requiring it to exorcise them from its online and mobile applications. It’s a win-win situation for both parties (for Twitter, at least).
No official launch date for the TweetDeck upgrade has been given by Twitter in response to an inquiry from The Verge regarding whether or not the company intends to monetize TweetDeck. For Blue customers, I expect it will be promoted as an exciting new bonus. Given how much my colleagues adore TweetDeck, I have a feeling that there will be a significant increase in the number of new users who sign up for the service if this is true.