Report: Twitter selling inactive usernames for $50,000

Originally published at: Report: Twitter selling inactive usernames for $50,000 | Boing Boing


I’ve heard that a number of people don’t participate on Xitter but kept their accounts to prevent tr0lls and scammers from taking them over and impersonating them. So much for that.

“Ensh*ttification” doesn’t begin to describe what Musk is doing to his platform.


Apparently you now have to xeet at least once a month to keep your account alive.


I can’t remember if I deleted it or not but I checked my old handle. It was a name that probably would have been recreated if I deleted. I was on Twitter for like two weeks very very early on but never liked the platform. Now that handle appears to be a Russian data company or something like that. Probably coincidence but it sure feels appropriate.


NPR to be the first one on the block?


Yeah, presumably no one would pay $50K for @randomusername, but a celebrity, journalist, media org, etc. would be of value to the right buyer. Who would of course be buying for totally legit reasons. We wouldn’t want to think Musk is setting up a blakc market for bad actors, would we?

Ps. When I typed in @randomusername, it linked to an inactive name here. Maybe BB has an untapped resource.


Brace for the legal battles if he sells the handles of bigly-time players. Image a Home Depot or Citi Bank has to deal with some snot-nosed Russian trolley ruining their name on a platform they no longer participate in.

And try to explain to a judge why you would put a $50K value on @Coke and sell it to just anybody. Fine-line between extorsion and ransom and fair business practices

I noticed a glitch in the Xitter app the other day and hoped it meant their datacenters were melting down and it was all going to end… … nope, fixed within hours.


Frankly i’m surprised he didn’t price it using one of his go-to numbers for juvenile humor (420 or 69). I was expecting to see something like $42,000


The technical collapse predictions didn’t imagine such a sharp decline in user numbers and time spent on platform.


I assume that my handle – which was perma-banned by Twitter long before Musk came on the scene, for reasons they declined to explain – will go on the block sooner or later.

If the price were low enough, and Twitter wasn’t currently owned by Musk, I might be tempted to buy it back. But no, those days are gone.

Wish they’d let me download my account archive, though.


Another genius move sir! This masterstroke and those $8 blue check marks will surely offset all those hundreds of millions in lost advertising dollars.




Back when the IANA (Internet Assigned Names Authority) and its parent organization ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) were being formed, because trademarks were involved the forums, meetings, and voting was mostly attended by lawyers, leaving those of us who were more concerned with Internet Protocol (IP) addressing and BGP numbers in the minority – whenever these lawyers saw “IP” on a meeting or group, they’d pack in on the assumption that it stood for “Intellectual Property” and then vote for the weirdest possible way to do the technical stuff, probably out of ignorance but possibly out of contempt for the engineers. Anyway, when actual names and intellectual property rights were actually on the agenda, they made sure that anyone who held a trademark, copyright, or other claim on a word or phrase would be able to seize and use that for domain names and similar, all in the name of protecting those intellectual property rights.

In short, the billable hours alone were probably in the tens of millions of dollars for those meetings and votes, and that was back in the 90s when nobody was quite sure if this whole Internet thing was a fad or not (at least according to my parents.) If xitter starts messing with handles and selling off names that are other people’s trademarks or similar, they’re going to get sued. A lot. And, from what I can tell from similar cases (e.g., which was originally for a non-profit with a trademarked name of “People Eating Tasty Animals,” but which was awarded to the animal ‘rights’ organization by the courts) the courts will not be kind or understanding. Trademark and intellectual property law is vicious, and fiercely fought over, and since xitter is international in scope, there are even more draconian and adversarial laws elsewhere in the legal lanscape that will probably be invoked where applicable. I rather doubt the $50k per username will even come close to covering their eventual legal costs.


i think he’s being shortsighted in not putting everyone’s handle up on the auction block. surely the highest bidders will be people who still use twitter, and want to continue using their names.


When you put it like that, I guess it is what the free market would demand.

And free markets are always good, right?


It was one thing for Elno to destroy the verification system and replace it with something that doesn’t verify users at all, thereby creating fertile breeding grounds for impersonators, but it’s another thing to actively abet impersonation. Because as those above have pointed out, there’s no way they’re selling off bot/tr*ll accounts for 50K. These are either primo handles (whatever the Twitter equivalent of “sex dot com” is) or popular users who fled Elno’s debacle - and I can’t imagine even the “cool” handles are worth that much in the context of failing Xitter.

I guess Elno’s going to relearn the lesson Twitter learned the hard way, with lawsuits over impersonation, because the account handles may not be worth much, but the damage they could do is substantial.


Going out of business sale. Mostly irregulars on the racks.


What if I just want to rent a handle for a few minutes to post some things? :grin:



Musk: “Beggers can be choosers.”


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