Twitter Might Be Looking to Sell Usernames Through Online Auctions

Twitter, under the leadership of Elon Musk, has been looking into ways to generate more revenue lately. According to a report from The New York Times, the company is considering selling usernames through online auctions to boost revenue.

Musk wants to free the ‘name space’ by 1.5 billion accounts

Engineers at the company have explored the possibility of organizing online auctions where people can bid for usernames, otherwise known as handles, says the report. The potential of generating revenue through this method has been discussed since at least December.

It’s uncertain if Twitter will implement the idea, and if it does, it’s unknown whether all usernames will be affected or only a portion of them.

In a tweet from last month, Musk said that Twitter would soon start freeing the namespace of 1,5 billion accounts, deleting the inactive accounts in that process.

Musk has shown interest in freeing up desired usernames taken by inactive accounts in a tweet reply right after he took over the company in October last year.

While Twitter has a username squatting policy that prohibits the sale and purchase of usernames, people have been able to buy desirable usernames on the black markets for years.

The high demand for highly sought-after usernames has also attracted hackers in the past. A teenager was arrested in 2020 after he hacked the social network and obtained high-profile usernames.

Numerous public figures had their accounts compromised by the hacker, including former president Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and more. Twitter isn’t the first to consider the generation of revenue through online auctions based on selling usernames, either.

Last October, the popular messaging platform Telegram announced that it would hold online auctions for usernames through a marketplace built on top of the TON blockchain.

Musk is Constantly Looking for New Ways to Boost Twitter’s Revenue

Musk’s $44 billion Twitter acquisition has been a mess so far, and the billionaire has been trying to find new ways to boost the company’s revenue while dealing with a downturn in ad revenue.

According to various reports, many advertisers left the platform after Musk’s takeover, and the company has been cutting down its internal revenue projections. For reference, Twitter’s revenue in 2021 was $5,1 billion, out of which $4,5 billion came from advertising.

Attempting to boost the declining revenue, the company has implemented many changes, such as lifting the ban on political advertising. Last November, the company set the price of Twitter Blue at $8, allowing anyone to have a blue checkmark next to their name — as long as they’re willing to pay.

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