Elon Musk's plan to monetize Twitter verification stumbles

Originally published at: Elon Musk's plan to monetize Twitter verification stumbles | Boing Boing


I wonder how much the bottom chunk of that fluxes. I can’t imagine companies on the borderline wanting to pay when the ranking changes.


It was his best idea since the Cybertruck.

BRUTAL(ly hilarious)


It is incredible that Elon Musk still has so little understanding of what Twitter is or where it derives whatever value it has.

Here are the basics, Elon:

  1. Users (individuals, celebrities, brands) produce content. This is what brings eyeballs to your platform. If you play your cards right the users will give you this content for free.
  2. Advertisers pay you for access to those eyeballs, i.e. to have their ads appear alongside the content people actually came to Twitter to see.

That’s pretty much your whole business model and your goal should be to avoid doing anything that fucks it up (like ruining the user experience or alienating brands with offensive or harmful content). Don’t overthink it; just because Twitter generally sucks doesn’t mean you’re smart enough to improve on it.


The automated poop emoji reply is so childish. He really behaves like a 10 year old boy.


I’d say it was his best idea since buying Twitter.


Which is exactly what he’s doing by trying to sneak in a paid subscription membership model through the side entrance (while still trying to preserve the advertising/engagement model).

There’s nothing wrong with a paid membership model in general. However, it can’t just be shoehorned into a social media site that’s been around since 2006 and that has millions of members who are accustomed to free (ad supported) accounts.


“10,000 most-followed accounts”, which makes sneaking in bots even more appealing.


That’s kind of what YouTube has been trying to do but they are offering a paid subscription model to users as an alternative to seeing ads. If Elon had a lick of sense that’s the kind of tinkering he’d be experimenting with instead of “let’s make every aspect of the platform worse for everyone.”


Blue is (eventually) supposed to be half the ads. I’ve seen someone run the numbers and say that’s a losing proposition. Not sure how the cratering ad market and shift in advertisers affects that calculus though.


Elno’s reign at Twitter is such hilarious chaos. He declares some brain-dead policy, people start pointing out all the problems with it, he does some weird half-backtrack/“compromise” that actually makes things worse (or at the very least more chaotic) because he doesn’t understand why it was a dumb idea to begin with… Then it finally gets implemented and it has bad outcomes which inspire a new round of bad new policies from Elno and the cycle repeats with the company continuing to circle the drain.

Yeah, it’s sooo idiotic. The bigger brands are the ones more likely to spend $12,000 a year to maintain some vestige of a verified identity, because it’s not a lot of money for them. (Though if they’re not willing to spend money to advertise, it seems unlikely they’d spend money for this, either.) Except it’s so inconsistent, it’s actually totally worthless as a verification of identity, so why would anyone pay for it? (Which companies are the top ranking? How often is this checked? Will companies go on and off the list with frequency, gaining and losing marks randomly?) The presence of a bunch of brands without these verified checkmarks muddies the water for everyone else, as do blue checkmarks that no longer mean anything - users don’t know what the presence or absence of particular marks mean, because the situation is so complicated and fluid. So the whole point of the verification checkmarks is destroyed entirely.

Twitter did have a subscription service that not a lot of people paid for. Since Elno blew up the revenue model by actively alienating advertisers, he’s obviously been desperate to hugely expand that subscription base. Unfortunately his “evil genius” solution was to find various ways to break the site and then have people pay to fix it for themselves. Where he really falls down is in not understanding that when you systematically break the site, you can’t fix it on the individual level. (Also, his ideas for how to do this in general are really stupid, and breaking the revenue model broke his options, too - paying to bypass ads is an obvious way to “pay to fix what’s broken (the annoyance of ads),” but if you’ve already blown that up…)


Plus he’s trying to turn Twitter Blue into a ‘pay to win’ game


I don’t understand the headline; it contains the nonsense phrase “Elon Musk’s Plan”. He doesn’t “plan”; he just says stuff. It’s not the same thing.


Is he though? Or, is he trying to replace and eliminate the advertising model completely and only have paid users?

He probably thinks he can convert all 450,000,000 users to paid subscribers if he does it just right. If all of those users spent $10 a year he could completely replace advertising.

Of course, they never will. Presumably, that’s why he wants $72 a year from the ones that will pay. And $1,200 from the ones he thinks have no choice and don’t care about the cost. To make up for all the ones that will not pay anything.

That feels very optimistic. Going to a paid only model, if he converts 1% or even 0.1% that would be impressive. The more the number drops, the faster it will fall too, since the value to most users is that there are other users there.


Maybe in the long term. For the immediate future he’s too deep in the hole not to push both models.


It is very ugly and impractical; I’m sure Clive Sinclair is happy to be out of the bad electric vehicle design award spotlight at last.

At least his shameful attempt wasn’t designed on an Etch A Sketch.


Hey now, that was designed with the ultimate pinnacle of computer graphics. Well, what was the pinnacle when he was 12. Matches everything else he’s done.


Gee, it’s almost like he has no vague idea what the business value is for what he’s offering. Like, is there anything twitter could provide that’s worth $1k/month to anyone? Even the advertisers aren’t that thrilled with the system…


Probably worth it to more people than the $42,000 / month API access


But he’s totally clueless about game design, so it’s not even working in that context. (Fundamentally he doesn’t understand the social nature of Twitter, that it’s a community, not a tech platform, at best seeing it like some sort of “player vs. player” game, which is only true for maybe a subset of right-wing sociopaths… to which apparently he belongs.)