Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is finding more ways to make the company’s $44 billion price tag make sense.
After seeing many of its advertisers turn away from the platform and the lackluster reception of the blue check subscription, the social media giant has reportedly mulled over selling usernames in online auctions, according to a report from the New York Times.
Details are sparse and the status of the project, and whether it will push forward or not, remains unclear. But Musk has previously said that he wanted to wipe inactive accounts and free up around 1.5 billion usernames. The Times also said that Twitter’s engineers have since at least December talked about running online auctions where users can bid for usernames.
The platform also plans to lift its ban on political ads. The Twitter Safety account said early in January that it will “relax” its restrictions on cause-based ads in the US and would also allow political ads “in the coming weeks.”
This move lifts a ban that was put in place in 2019, and puts Twitter on the same page as other platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Google’s YouTube, which both allow political ads under certain conditions.
The move would likely increase the platform’s ad revenue, especially leading to the 2024 election. But it might not help in the company’s attempts to woo its former corporate advertisers.
Advertisers left the platform en masse largely due to the volatility that followed after Musk’s takeover which was followed by an alarming increase in hate speech, issues in ad performance, poor content moderation causing brand safety concerns, and the reinstatement of previously-banned accounts.
Given the platform’s poor content moderation, opening up Twitter to political ads could make it rife with paid content full of disinformation, which would just push corporate advertisers further away.
A recent report from The Information says that WPP-owned GroupM, which is the world’s largest ad-buying company, has slashed spending on Twitter by 40% to 50% since Musk took over.
Advertising executives at Twitter have reportedly grown so desperate that they’ve started implying to ad buyers that they would lose their job if the buyers fail to increase their ad spend.
It seems like it has taken less to lose a job at Twitter since late October.
Whether it will push through or not, there’s no indication the username auction would be more productive than the Twitter Blue subscription program.
Information for this story was found via the New York Times, The Information, Twitter, and the other sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.