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Twitter to charge for pro service this year

Twitter is planning on charging for an enhanced version of the service by the end of the year, with the hope of exploiting businesses who want more

Short-messaging boy wonder Twitter is planning on charging for an enhanced version of the service, by the end of 2009. As part of what business model is unclear, but it appears a paid-for 'pro' version of Twitter could be offered to businesses -- y'know, like us.

The news comes from Reuters, after Twitter founder Biz Stone emailed to say, "We think there will be opportunities to provide services to commercial entities that help them get even more value out of Twitter. If these services are valuable to companies, we think they may want to pay for them."

The standard Twitter service will remain free to businesses and individual users who only want the basic offering, Stone promises. So Google won't have to pay to plug its services to a quarter of a million Web 2.0-savvy Net users? Good news for Google, then.

Google is among the most followed businesses on Twitter, with almost a quarter of a million individual followers since joining a mere month ago today. Starbucks, Dell and ironically Facebook -- which Twitter declined to be bought by for $500m earlier this year -- are also within the top 40 on the service.

Interestingly, however, when asked if CNET UK's Twitter feed was more interesting than Dell's, a staggering 100 per cent of people* responded "yes". Amazing really.

*People who work at CNET UK, and were within shouting distance.