Twitter has considered selling user names to boost revenue, according to reports. The microblogging platform’s rules of service prohibit buying and selling of @ handles, but this is different. Here, Twitter itself wants to— or intends— to auction user names, possibly in exchange of money. The plan has been under consideration since December 2022 at least.
Citing sources with direct knowledge of the plan, The New York Times is reporting that Twitter engineers have discussed selling user names through online auction. It isn’t immediately clear if this would apply to prolific handles only, those that may hold some value to the bidder or, include a wider set. Regardless, we expect some sort of formula to be applied here if at all Twitter actually goes ahead with this plan.
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Elon Musk, who owns Twitter now, has previously said that he intends to clear out inactive user handles –that could be to the tune of 1.5 billion— as part of his crackdown on spam and bot accounts. This is the first time we’re hearing that Twitter may also start to monetise account names in future. There is no word from Twitter or Musk on this matter at the time of writing.
There are no two ways that Musk wants Twitter to be profitable fast. Every move that he’s taken recently, from mass layoffs to charging money for blue tick verified status, seems to suggest that Twitter had –maybe— expanded bit fast and hastily while its revenue was no where close to what it could and should be. At the same time, Musk has openly talked about freedom of speech (even though he has removed accounts including those of prominent journalists who have spoken against him without notice) and brought in features and navigation changes to seemingly spruce up engagement.
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