As I have harped on many times recently, making money off of content on the internet is hard. The advertising model supporting free content that has worked for decades for television simply isn’t working on the web. Even the subscription that is subsidized by advertising (the traditional print content model for newspapers and magazines) only seems to work in very limited cases.
Even if you are Twitter, apparently, you are not immune. As the New York Times points out, despite being front and center in the ongoing controversies, activism, celebrity discussion that is constantly in the news, Twitter appears unable to find a workable model using advertising.
The interesting thing to me here is that Twitter is more than just a content platform - it is really more of a communication platform. However, by trying to monetize it via advertising, it was essentially being treated as a content platform. While this fails to leverage their dedicated users, who primarily depend on Twitter as a communication platform (a service they may be willing to pay for), it also means that they cannot take advantage of the controversy that helps drive their reader traffic (because controversy is not what big paying advertisers want to be associated with).