While Internet users have flocked to micro-blogging websites, such as Twitter, no one is willing to pay for services they now receive for free, according to findings in the University of California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism’s 2010 Digital Future Study.twitter_small
Almost half – 49 percent – of Internet users say they use sites like Twitter. But when they were asked if they would be willing to pay to use Twitter, 100 percent said no.
“Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting Internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free,” said Jeffery I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School For Communication & Journalism, in the study. “Twitter has no plans to charge its users, but this result illustrates, beyond any doubt, the tremendous problem of transforming free users into paying users. Online providers face major challenges to get customers to pay for services they now receive for free.”
The unwillingness of Internet users to pay for content, could make it difficult for micro-blogging start-ups with very little capital kick-start there operations.
According to the study 70 percent of Internet users find Web advertising “annoying” and half never click on ads.
However, 55 percent of users said they would rather see Web Advertising than pay for content.
“Internet users can obtain content in three ways: they can steal it, or pay for it or accept advertising on the Web pages they view,” Cole said. “Users express strong negative views about online advertising, but they still prefer seeing ads as an alternative to paying for content. Consumers really want free content without advertising, but ultimately they understand that content has to be paid for – one way or another.”
The 2010 Digital Future Project is in its 10th year and explores more than 180 issues related to the digital world.