Twitter Blues: Monetization of the Blue Check Mark
The headlines blew wide when Elon Musk acquired Twitter last October 27, 2022. Musk spent $44 billion on the company. Musk predicted that Twitter would bring in $1.2 billion in payment revenue by 2028. However, at the moment, recouping the $44 billion is his primary goal.
Twitter is a mainstream social media platform, and, like other apps, Twitter obtains its revenue stream from advertising. However, advertising sales have dropped by half due to advertisers concerns with changes to the service and Must tweeted:
“We’re still negative cash flow, due to (about a) 50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load.”
So, he opted for a contingency plan: the implementation of the “blue checkmark” through a paid subscription.
About Twitter Blue
Twitter’s verification system traditionally was to ensure that accounts from notable individuals and organization were authentic.
Twitter Blue is an opt-in paid monthly subscription that adds a blue checkmark for verification to a subscriber’s account.
The blue checkmark is a mark that distinguishes a verified account from impostors. For $8/ a month, Twitter will provide the checkmark to a user provided that user meets the eligibility criteria:
- Complete: Your account must have a display name and profile photo
- Active use: Your account must be active in the past 30 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue
- Security: Your account must be older than 30 days upon subscription and have a confirmed phone number
- Non-Deceptive: Your account must have no recent changes to your profile photo, display name, or username (@handle)
- Your account must have no signs of being misleading or deceptive
- Your account must have no signs of engaging in platform manipulation and spam
The Twitter Blue symbol functions like a trademark. It indicates that the source of the product or “tweet” is credible. That is why the old structure of getting a blue check mark has worked so far. In essence, the protection that the symbol provides does rely on the fulfillment of specific criteria and it also serves as a great revenue driver.
Musk’s Monetization of the Blue Check Mark
The value of a trade mark stems from the associations made by consumers. A mark represents that the product or service quality is reputable and of high quality because of the origin of the supply. The same goes for the Twitter Blue symbol because it tells a consumer that the source of the supply is legitimate and can be viewed as a credible source.
Backfire in Action
Inevitably, a problem scenario happened. People bought the $8/ a month check mark to troll advertisers.
Many companies like Lockheed Martin, BP Global, Chiquita, and Tesla incurred harm. An account imitating the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly posted a tweet stating that insulin is free which caused confusion among its consumers. That resulted in their stocks falling by about 4.37%. Additionally, the monetization of the blue check mark has also given rise to trolls imitating athletes which is confusing not only to the athletes themselves but also to their brand and fans.
The blue checkmark means that the account has an active subscription. Twitter is also developing a stealth mode feature which will allow users to hide the blue checkmark when subscribing to the service. There is also “Profile Customization” in the works whereby users can conceal various features such as likes and subscriptions.
Musk has also promised earning opportunities as subscribers can be paid for ads when others view their profile page. He said:
“Many accounts on this platform can earn thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue sharing if they become verified subscribers”.
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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.