Twitter considers auctioning off user names to generate new revenue

Twitter considers auctioning off user names to generate new revenue after Elon Musk’s $44B takeover

  • Twitter is reportedly considering auctioning user names to generate revenue
  • Musk has previously talked of freeing up usernames from inactive accounts
  • After buying Twitter for $44 billion, he is seeking new revenue to pay off debt 

Twitter is reportedly considering proposals to auction off user names as a means of generating new revenue.

Employees at Twitter have held internal discussions about the idea of a user name auction since at least December, according to a New York Times report on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

Since his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in October, new owner Elon Musk has actively searched for new revenue streams, including with his new vision for the Twitter Blue subscription service. 

Musk took on $13 billion in debt as part of the deal, meaning that Twitter’s annual interest expenses have ballooned from about $50 million to nearly $1 billion, increasing the pressure to boost cash flow for debt service.  

Since his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in October, new owner Elon Musk has actively searched for new revenue streams

Since his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in October, new owner Elon Musk has actively searched for new revenue streams

However, after slashing costs at Twitter, including laying off more than half the workforce, Musk said last month that the company is ‘not in the fast lane to bankruptcy anymore.’ 

It’s unclear whether the proposal to auction user names would apply to all user names, or only those that are unclaimed or otherwise inactive. 

Twitter, which appears to have disbanded its public relations department after Musk’s takeover, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.

Musk has previously said that he wants to clear out old Twitter accounts that have remained inactive for years, a move that could potentially free up some 1.5 billion user names.

On Twitter, user names are signified by the @ symbol followed by letters or numbers.

Likely only user names reflecting celebrities or brands would fetch a significant price at auction.

There is also demand for so-called ‘OG’ user names, which consist of a short word or phrase, or even a single letter or number. 

Twitter is reportedly considering proposals to auction off user names as a means of generating new revenue

Twitter is reportedly considering proposals to auction off user names as a means of generating new revenue

Meanwhile, Twitter on Wednesday launched a new feature inspired by rival TikTok, which gives tweets promoted by an algorithm more prominence.

Twitter users on iOS will automatically land on a new tab on the homepage called ‘For You’ when they open the app.

For You – the same name as a feature on TikTok – shows tweets from accounts users do and don’t follow, all out of order and boosted by an algorithm.

Twitter users on iOS can also now swipe their phone screen to switch between For You and the alterative tab option, called ‘Following’.

Twitter rival TikTok is a hugely popular video-sharing app owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

When TikTok users open the app, they are presented with the For You feed – a stream of recommended videos.

From today, Twitter users on iOS will automatically land on the 'For You' tab on the homepage when they open the app, although they can swipe the screen to opt for the 'Following' tab, which shows tweets the old-fashioned way - from accounts followed in reverse chronological order, with those most-recently posted at the top

From today, Twitter users on iOS will automatically land on the ‘For You’ tab on the homepage when they open the app, although they can swipe the screen to opt for the ‘Following’ tab, which shows tweets the old-fashioned way – from accounts followed in reverse chronological order, with those most-recently posted at the top

For You is powered by an algorithm that makes personalised recommendations based on several metrics, including viewing behaviour and interactions with videos.

Twitter has also taken the name ‘For You’ for its algorithmic feed of tweets, which is now the default when iOS users open the app.

The ‘Following’ tab shows tweets from accounts users follow in reverse chronological order, with those most-recently posted at the top.

Both of these tab options were available previously under different names, but users had to click on a star icon in the corner of the app.

Source

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