Besides courting IBM and then having Oracle buy you, of course!
- Introduce paid accounts. Very small fee to get one, but most services are pennies pay-per-use, so encourage people to put more cash into their “twitter wallet”.
- Editable tweets. Paid account holders can retroactively EDIT THEIR TWEETS TO CORRECT ERRORS. (Looking at @oprah here.) Although the internet and Google store everything forever, Twitter can control their own database & website (the primary source of twitter data), and could probably use their API limits as a whip to force most of the major third party clients to silently accept the edited tweets. To edit a tweet within 15 seconds of posting costs a penny; editing anytime after that costs perhaps a dollar. This is withdrawn from the twitter wallet the account holder already setup, of course.
- Put ads on the website – on all non-paid account holder pages. This doesn’t interfere with functionality, and won’t upset the geeks, who are all using third party clients anyway. For paid accountholders, have the option to include ads on their twitter.com homepage, and allow a small kickback of the ad revenue to cover part of the paid account fee.
- Add metadata to tweets for paid account holders. The sky’s the limit here (well, their database is the limit). Rich text formatting and Graphical smilies (in clients that support them, of course, which most will)? RDF / Hashtag / semantic web / SEO name=value fields attached to your tweet, and accessible from the API? All good things that people would pay for.
- Life vests. Each paid account holder with a certain number of tweets gets a free, Twitter-logo’d live vest for wearing as they jump the shark with Twitter.
Wanted: someone to do the cost analysis of email traffic vs. SMS traffic (showing how 10 cents for an SMS is something like a bazillion dollars per megabyte) and apply the lesson to twitter.