Ev Williams: Twitter Not Limiting Followers

Updated with comments from Twitter: Dave Winer points to a series of discussions and blog posts about Twitter allegedly limiting people to 2,000 followers. In his opinion, it is a good idea, because “the expensive thing in Twitter is distributing status messages to large numbers of queues.” Actually, Twitter isn’t doing anything formal. Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter, left a comment in response to an earlier version of a post that explains it all.

I’m afraid this has gotten confused. There is no limit to the number of followers you can have. There is a limit to the number of people you can *follow*. This is mostly to reduce spam and depends on a number of factors. More details here: (link)

In other words, there are no such limits. Earlier reports were based There is no official word from Twitter, and all on a couple of blog posts and status messages, where people reported that they were running into the 2,000 follower problem.

On their web site, the only limits Twitter talks about are: 1,000 total updates a day, 250, direct messages per day, and 100 API requests. If the San Francisco-based company is indeed going in this direction, it wouldn’t be as hard to see them adopting a fremium model. A post on Statisfaction forums indicates that the follow limits are more recent and were prompted by the nefarious Twitter-spammers, but there are some on the Twitter forum who are unhappy about any kind of limits.

In my blog post from May 2008 about their infrastructure problems, and how they can deal with it, I had suggested that they should limit the followers, charge for additional followers and messages.

$10 a month for 1,000 subscribers. 25,000 subscribers means someone like Scoble should be paying them around $250 a month. Let’s take it a step further. Twitter should limit people to 500 free messages a month. Any more should come in a bucket of, say, 1,000 messages for $10…. This would also fit the Freemium business model that Twitter investor Fred Wilson so loves.

Anyway, that post got mixed reactions. Some agreed and others didn’t much care for my proposed pricing structure. Regardless, if Too bad this rumor is not true, then this is a step in the right direction for the company as it helps them get a handle on their infrastructure and scaling issues.

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