The forthcoming version of TweetDeck, the power-user-focused version of the Twitter app, is starting to look like it won’t be free. Jane Manchun Wong, a security researcher, uncovered a sign-up website for the app that claims to be a “powerful, real-time tool for people who live on Twitter” and offers an ad-free experience.
While the page doesn’t indicate you’ll have to pay Twitter to use TweetDeck, it’s unusual for companies to offer “helps you avoid the thing that makes us money” as a feature of free goods (even if, like the current version of TweetDeck, it is). Twitter, it turns out, already has a paid subscription service that it’s attempting to market to its elite users.
This isn’t the first time they have heard that Twitter is looking to make money off of TweetDeck. Manchun Wong discovered code earlier this month that appeared to reroute non-Blue subscribers seeking to access the new TweetDeck to the Twitter Blue sign-up website. Bloomberg reported over a year ago that Twitter was considering adding a subscription service to the app. That news arrived just as Twitter announced that TweetDeck was undergoing a “big overhaul.”
They have already seen a sneak peek of the revamp. It’s lengthy (and polarising), and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into it. It’s not implausible that Twitter is doing it to appear more welcoming to the community and third-party developers, but it seems more likely that the company created Twitter Blue with the knowledge that TweetDeck would be a major selling factor.
The $2.99 a month membership already feels like it’s intended at those who use Twitter professionally, so what’s effectively a premium version of the service’s app would fit right in.
Of course, there is a flaw in this theory: Twitter Blue isn’t ad-free. That fact is even mentioned twice in the service’s FAQ. So how does the fact that TweetDeck is ad-free imply that it will soon be a part of Twitter Blue?
It’s a good issue, but the contradiction persuades to even more: having TweetDeck as a Blue feature would allow Twitter to offer its paying users an ad-free experience without having to go through the trouble of exorcising them from the company’s web and mobile apps. It’s a win-win situation (for Twitter, at least).