Twitter is working on a new subscription platform under the codename Gryphon, according to two online job postings.
A remote contractor position listed on LinkedIn is seeking a backend Scala software engineer to work for Gryphon, a team that is split across Twitter hubs in San Francisco, New York, and London. According to the post, Gryphon constitutes a mixture of frontend and backend engineers who are “working closely together to deliver something new at Twitter” and involves rebuilding some of Twitter’s services to “produce a subscription management platform.”
A second position for senior full-stack software engineer, listed on Twitter’s career portal, also mentions a new subscription platform that can “be reused by other teams” in the future. Aside from that, not a great deal is known about Twitter’s plans; however, we do know that it is a close collaboration between Gryphon, Twitter.com, and its payments team. The successful hire will “lead the payment and subscription client work,” according to the listing.
This news will undoubtedly lead to significant discussion around what Twitter is cooking up, including speculation that it is developing a premium version that removes ads and affords certain customizations not available on the free product. In truth, subscriptions could open up a whole new world of products and apps that leverage Twitter’s vast reach and swathes of data, or it could help position Twitter as a viable business for creators and influencers. In effect, Twitter could be building something similar to Patreon.
Twitter explored paid subscriptions for TweetDeck in the past, though this previous endeavor seemingly went nowhere beyond carrying out surveys to see what people would be willing to pay for. This time around, Twitter appears far more serious in its push to build a consumer product it can monetize sans advertisements. With its user numbers and revenues failing to hit the giddy heights of Facebook, subscriptions could offer new ways for it to increase engagement, loyalty, and — importantly — its bottom line.
VentureBeat has reached out to Twitter for clarification on what this new subscription platform is for, and will update here when or if we hear back.