Would people pay for Twitter? Survey says …. No.

Like this is any real surprise but Mike Melanson over at ReadWriteWeb brings us the results of a recent survey taken by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism as part of its yearly Digital Future report (pdf).

The survey asked 2,000 people if they would pay to use Twitter and the results were that… are you ready…. zero percent would be willing to pay.

Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future, said that the response shows just how difficult it can be to begin charging users for services and goods they already receive for free.

“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,” said Cole. “Online providers
face major challenges to get customers to pay for services they now receive for free.”

Of the survey’s 1,981 respondents, 49% had “used free micro-blogs such as Twitter.” While 70% said that they found Internet advertising annoying, it was by far the most preferable outcome (outside of completely free, ad-free content), with 55% of respondents saying they “would rather see Web advertising than pay for content.”

Like I said, color me surprised.