Sina Weibo will be launching membership service which will give paid users access to premium features like personal page customization and so on, a move highlighting Weibo’s efforts in monetizing its offering as Sina is under stress from weakening ad sales. As the company’s latest earnings report shows it lost US$ 13.7 million in the first quarter of this year, and it seems the loss will be continued in the next quarter due to ongoing investments into Weibo.
The premium services include customizable personal pages, priority upgrades, personal badges, voice posts and so on. Apparently Sina took a page from Tencent’s fertile membership services.
Sina Weibo’s monetization started from last year with the launch of its own virtual currency weibi and paid account weihao (you can choose your own weibo number). Both yield little outcome.
At the same time, as its registered number crossed the mark of 300 million, its growth plateaued, partly due to the real name regulation and anti-spammer effort.