Twitter Said to Consider Selling User Names to Boost Revenue

Twitter has thought of promoting person names to generate new income as its proprietor, Elon Musk, tries to resuscitate the corporate’s enterprise, two individuals with information of the plan mentioned.

Twitter staff have held conversations about promoting some person names for the service since at the very least December, the individuals mentioned. Engineers have mentioned operating on-line auctions the place individuals can bid for the person names, that are the phrases, numbers or string of characters that comply with the @ signal by which accounts are recognized on the platform. Mr. Musk’s person title, for instance, is @elonmusk.

It’s unclear if the undertaking will transfer ahead and if the plan impacts all person names or solely a subset, the individuals mentioned. But Mr. Musk mentioned final month that he needed to begin eliminating inactive accounts on Twitter and liberate 1.5 billion person names. Only sure person names — reminiscent of these of well-known individuals, manufacturers and standard names — might have worth.

The social media firm has been in turmoil since Mr. Musk purchased it for $44 billion in October. Given the deal’s excessive price ticket, the billionaire is underneath strain to make the acquisition successful.

Mr. Musk has since slashed bills at Twitter, ordering layoffs, chopping different prices and stopping vendor funds. At the identical time, he has tried discovering new avenues to generate income as Twitter experiences a pointy downturn in advert income. He has provide you with a revamped subscription plan so customers pay for verification badges, and the corporate has filed paperwork with the Treasury Department to course of funds.

Mr. Musk has mentioned he has visions of making “an everything app,” much like China’s WeChat, which greater than a billion individuals use to search out information, connect with buddies, make funds and order meals.

Unique person names — also referred to as handles — could be profitable. They are sometimes claimed by early adopters of social media platforms and a few individuals and types are keen to pay hundreds of {dollars} for them. Black markets have sprung up the place individuals should buy “original gangster,” or O.G., person names which might be desired as a result of they characteristic a brief phrase or a quantity and should have been deserted by their house owners.

Twitter and Mr. Musk didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Twitter’s guidelines forbid the shopping for and promoting of handles. The commerce has beforehand attracted hackers. In 2020, a 17-year-old in Florida was arrested after hacking Twitter to acquire person names to promote, compromising the accounts of Mr. Musk and celebrities.

Telegram, a well-liked messaging platform, mentioned it might let individuals public sale their handles in October.

Four days after buying the corporate in October, Mr. Musk tweeted that he would “definitely” look to purge accounts which were inactive for a 12 months, a few of which have coveted person names. In December, he mentioned Twitter would liberate the names of accounts that had been “obvious account deletions with no tweets & no log in for years.”

His plan ignited issues amongst some who feared the corporate would delete the accounts of people that had died and whose Twitter pages had been used to memorialize them. As of July — the final time the corporate reported monetary figures — Twitter had almost 238 million every day lively customers who noticed advertisements.

Twitter additionally continues to put off staff. Mr. Musk has decreased the corporate’s work power by about 75 % from the 7,500 staff it had on the time he took over. Last week, new layoffs affected dozens of employees, together with engineers on promoting and staffers engaged on belief and security, three individuals with information of the cuts mentioned. The Information earlier reported the layoffs.

This week, Mr. Musk, who additionally leads the electrical automaker Tesla, emailed Twitter staff saying he was out there for conferences after ending “most of my Tesla work.” He reminded them that he should approve all product design and engineering adjustments “no matter how small,” in keeping with a duplicate of the observe, which was seen by The New York Times.

“We are going to agonize until we achieve as close to the perfect product as possible,” Mr. Musk wrote.

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